Timeline of the Theatre
Council discusses need for Municipal Opera House.
Competition to design an Opera House for Wanganui.
Foundation stone laid.
Official opening of Opera House by Premier, Mr Seddon First show - Sporting Life with Bland Holt and Company.
Water main laid
Wanganui Liedertafel - 20th Grand Concert.
Handrails provided on stairs leading to Dress Circle. By-law to keep passages and ways clear during performances.
Agreement in July to cover stage entrance before next winter
Engineer told to prepare specifications and tenders invited for erecting stage entrance cover.
Larger music stands and improved lamp holders for the orchestra.
The committee decided to recover 300 armrests, in Utrecht velvet.
Plimmer-Hall Dramatic Company performs and profits go to the Belgian Relief Fund.
|1915||Staircase to dress circle treated with dark spirit stain.|
|1917||Engineer reports on ventilation.|
|1918||Council suggests Opera House could become Fire Station.|
|1920||Alterations to Opera House - movie theatre established.
Inauguration of Paramount Pictures.
Modification of seats with central aisle created to allow grand procession of Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII. Seats then directly behind one another.
Actress dies in backstage fire.
|1934||First loan paid off.|
|1937||Fire in sweet stall closes theatre for several months.
Reinstatement completed by Messrs Walpole & Patterson.
New Opera House estimated to cost at least 50,000 pounds.
Reinstatement (covered by insurance) costs council 400 pounds.
|1956||Custodian/manager collapses, dies|
|1957||Opera House Debt free.
Modern switchboard installed.
|1958||Gas engine goes.|
|1963||Exterior repainting tender accepted from Mr A W Gray for 1327 pounds 9 shillings.|
|1967||Mr Gray's attention drawn to deterioration in paintwork.|
|1986||Staff member Dave Brough died while working in the circle.|
|1987||Purchase of new Steinway grand piano|
|1989||Council retains control of Opera House for at least 12 months more.
Friends of the Opera House steering committee established
Membership drive for Friends of the Opera House begins.
Smoke detectors installed.
Foodtown donates $10,000 for refurbishing the orchestra pit.
Girvan Corporation pledges at least $5000 through pre-Christmas competition
|1990||Orchestra pit refurbished|
|$51,000 Lotteries Commission grant towards sprinkler system.
Monetary support also from Wanganui District Council, Trust Bank Central, William McAlpine Duncan Trust, Leedstown Trust, Shirley McDouall/Peggy Wallis School of Dance, Friends Preferential Seating Scheme.
Seating reduced from 1000 to 830 for more leg room and better views. Eight wheelchair spaces provided
|1991||Exit doors installed at either side of the building replace two doors at the front of the building and make room for upgraded toilet facilities.|
|1992||New toilet facilities provided, including a paraplegic toilet.
Upstairs area becomes lounge, bar and new sweet stall
|1992||New toilet facilities completed.
Seat refurbishment begins
|1993||Stage replaced. 17 volunteers provide help to lay 3500 lineal metres of matai timber, and hammer in 15,500 nails. Old flooring reused in the foyer of the Whanganui Riverboat Restoration and Navigation Trust's Riverboat centre in Taupo Quay|
Newly installed sprinklers save Opera House from arson attempt.
Computerised ticketing introduced.
|1996||Historic Places Trust awards Category One grading to the Opera House|
|1997||Discussions to extend annexe.
Historic Places Trust agrees to 15 m by 13 m corrugated iron extension to maintain historic connections. Plans include room for set construction and catering kitchen.
Horror when Friends discover upgrading the annexe means "every aspect of the building" having to adhere to the Building Industry Act regulations 1991.
Friends' president warns that people are pulling down buildings because the cost of compliance is so high.
Annexe construction begins.
Royal Wanganui Opera House.
Annexe construction completed.
Computerised ticketing system upgraded
New Manager's office completed
Sound system installed
Computerised ticketing system replaced. Ticket Sales now available online.
Backstage gas heating installed
New Sound and Lighting consol positions built.