Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our Poster

This poster was designed by our producer: Her site:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

These Four Walls opens in one week

         You know what I am seriously going to be running fast when I finish writing this, for rehearsal, and that is the wondrous fun of doing d.i.y.  unbudgeted fringe shows!!!  

        I've got pictures to post and progress reports to make, but first things first, The show is coming along and getting to be very fun in rehearsals, this week we put it all together and throw it off a cliff and I think it will be a glider.

        Thankyou and welcome aboard to our sponsors!!     We needed you.
     Bayleys real estate,
     Greg Presland at mylawyer

   especially, and there will be more links and logos coming on up.

    I'm terribly proud of our show, it's a great group, and great venue and great stories, and I am grate-ful for all the support we're getting from my mates and locally in Titirangi.

but remember it's only a three night season, to showcase our company.  Make sure you book as we open in a week.

What doing on Saturday?  Come along to the Fringe launch carnival event in Myers park from 2 - till six. 
    Just a little mayhem, and all the fringe showcasing itself.

     See you there.  G

Monday, February 14, 2011

Not long to go...

  Next gig will be on Wednesday at 121.
  We'll play and Caitlin Smith will play and Anna Kaye too!
Look for our propaganda
Only $5 on the door -see you there.

Ruth McClean née Nicolas with her sister Jeanette

More recording of history has been happening, as I took Ruth over to Lopdell House, and also to the house where she used to live down toward School road.

Last Saturday I met Isaiah and he and his family have agreed that he will come and play a scene with us in our play.  Isaiah is seven years old and has quite a talent.  He loves acting, and is naturally pretty enthusiastic about the idea.

 Next Saturday we'll be in Titirangi village promoting the show, and I'll be interested to hear from anyone with memories of Lopdell house in the 50's 60's and seventies or any time who would like to come and find us.
  We'll be outside the Gone West Books Bookstore.

Last week we had a gig and book launch all proceeds went to helping our play along.
Thanks everyone who came.

I hope you've booked in the 26th of February to come and see us and all the others at the Fringe Launch in Myers Park.

More soon

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pleased to announce.... a surprise element

   We are closer than ever before to the show going on, and it's been decided to have three guests join us on stage:

    Three wonderful actors  Tessa Mitchell, Mat Sunderland, and Regan Taylor.

    They may be a surprise element. If you haven't read this they will be!

    We are all looking forward to finalizing the content of the show.  As it turns out this is the nature of doing a show that involves so much history.  Particularly in this case where there is - new history.
It's fast turnaround, but there's a lot of love and busy-bodying around Titirangi.

    Regan will be playing William Bloomfield the original architect of Lopdell house, and the claim is that he is the earliest architect in the country born of Maori descent.  An interesting character brought to light thanks to the findings of Denys Oldham.  I'm grateful to Denys for his help.

    Tessa Mitchell is the Daughter Of David Mitchell of Mitchell and Stout, ( I know and I'm the daughter of David Mitchell the poet, it could be confusing and it has been in the past!),   Tessa is also an acclaimed actress who has work on stage and screen in New Zealand.

  Mat is known to many for his impressive list of film roles over the last few years in New Zealand, and it's a happy circumstance that he's available to cameo in our show while he's here in Auckland.

  It's great to have you guys on board, and now it's time to knuckle down and write you a part!!  

What must be happening?? THE BOOTH IS HERE!!

Goodness me time flies when you're in the thick of it.

It's the nature of the fringe festival to have exciting and experimental works also to see shows managing on proverbial oily rags but we're putting both to the test.

We have a booth!!
It's been sewn up, and walked in and out of in a celebratory way, I'll show a picture of it soon, meanwhile here is the bundle of calico that it was last week:

and we have a few occasions to air it out in public coming up.  See the link at the top of the page called for BOOTH dates In Titirangi and in Central Auckland.

The BOOTH OF ECHOES AND REMEMBRANCES, is our tent building, it will have a flag and be quite noticeable.

We would like to invite you to come and be filmed in the tent telling us stories about Lopdell house.

Some say they've felt a ghostly presence there before?  Have you?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

     I have been visiting my Grandmother again with a handy flip camera, and while she insists that she was only 6-9 years old during the time she lived in Lopdell house, she has gauged the years correctly.

     I have some photos too!!  and will post them here for your perusal.

Reg and Vera took the building on when it stood closed as a 'White Elephant' in 1934, and worked hard to run it extremely successfully as a hotel together with local employees.  
   Business families from Auckland would sometimes stay for the whole summer period while the gentlemen would commute to town for work.  There were some full time occupants in the hotel too, and then the buses arriving for afternoon tea.  Levy and Reg Nicolas wee friendly and sometimes would go fishing together.  The Levys would frequent the building for stays, with their son, and later Levy employed Reg to manage a business with him.    My Nana was six when they arrived and nine when they left, so from her child's perspective it's a lovely homely account.  She kept a horse, and remembers a lot about attending the Titirangi School.  She fondly remembers the cook, who would apparently give notice every Christmas eve.  
  Percy Levy owned the building but didn't work with Reg on it, he had invited him to run it for him which is what happened. It was sold to the Shrubsalls in 1937, and the Shrubsalls owned it for just a few weeks or months at the end of the Nicolas' lease. The Shrubsalls wanted to turn the Hotel into a 'night club' says my Nana, and Reg wasn't interested in doing that.
  Reg and Vera had done well from the business, and bought a property in School road where the family lived for another few years, and where they had two sons, Reg and David. The two older sisters Jeanette (Kayes), Ruth (McClean)-my Grandmother, and David Nicolas -the youngest have survived their brother Reg and live in East Auckland variously.  
  I'm looking forward to making these histories available to the historical society, and Bruce and Trixie can no doubt advise as to how they should be stored and kept.
    Most wonderfully, I have photos from the whole period, including three wonderful shots: two of the roof top as it was open to visitors, and one a view of the neighboring houses taken at the same time. We can't date them exactly but guessing by Ruths age, - 1936.  

  Also, my Nana has presented me with a box of cassette tapes made by my Great Grandmother Vera Nicolas, assisted by my Uncle Reg.  No one alive has listened to them yet!  
    I'm in the process of transferring them to digital media, and it's pretty exciting.  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ok well...

     ...  Today is the Finge media launch, and it looks fabuous.  I met up with a few fringites at the Parnell pools last night and there's a feeling of excitement and anticipation as well there should be.  Noticeably though a lot of people were absent no doubt they were drumming fantastical shows to be in readiness.

    We have a booth under construction, and a play in the wings,  so more soon...  over and out.  

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Things are happening. . .

It has been interesting to catch up with my Nana, Ruth McClean, and great aunt Jeanette Kayes, over the Christmas break.  I'm hoping to meet with them for a spot of filming in Titirangi in January.
Ruth says she will write notes for me about her time as a child at Lopdell.

Maybe Bruce and Trixie were right and it really warrants a publication in its own right.  All in all it's just wonderful that my Nana can remember some stories.  Jeanette says she was too young, but I wonder if being there in the building will jog her memory.

I also met Rachel at the library who worked there when it was a restaurant.  So I'll be going back to visit her for a chat.

I have been given a contact at the Kelston Deaf education Centre who was a student at the Lopdell house school for the deaf in the 50's.   I hope she can tell me a few things in the new year as well.

So, pretty busy,
luckily we have a pretty good structure to work from.

Speaking of structure : The booth is on its way.  At least I have found a tent to use as a basis for its eventual incarnation.

And my partner has cleaned out the garage in preparation for some constructing. . . .

Also the poster is developing little by little.

Right, over and out there's plenty to do.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen!

‘There’s a sense that we’re reinhabiting the building.
This wonderful reverberation through time is part of the magic of theatre in an old building with a story to tell.’

Ladies and Gentlemen
The 3rd 4th and 5th of March
on the Top Floor
at Lopdell House
formerly the Titirangi Hotel,
and previous to that a children’s school for the deaf…
An Historical Show
for these times,
An Experimental and Avant-Garde Work
suitable for the whole family,
and with a particular modern style
that utilizes a theatrical soundscape
including aspects of improvisation!
Only   Three  Showings !
Don’t miss out!
3rd 4th &5th March
Thurs –Sat 7.30 pm
60 – 90 minutes
(with function after the show)

low price general admission
tickets   $16    from
Become part of our ongoing
documentation process and join us to
share a special reminiscence about this
building or a ghostly experience in


Find the booth after the show or at various locations around Auckland during February

     We're very grateful to Bruce and Trixie Harvey from the West Auckland Historical society, for their allowing us to have a sneak preview of their wonderful book about the history of Titirangi.  It will be launched on the 18th of March and it's really a lovely thing.  I had a coffee with them the other day and it was very informative and funny.  they're a couple who work together on their book projects including a book about the Whatipu lodge and area.  Wonderfully there are more stories in memoirs that pertain to the Lopdell House history in relation to the war and the liquor licensing, So, some reading material over Christmas!
      We've had a couple of rehearsals  now and are off for a Christmas break with the thoughts of our show in mind.  The stories have all come easily to the fore and we look forward to having our writing workshop in January when I meet with Tahi and Chris in Hastings.  

      We've had an expression of interest in making a show for the Hawkes Bay Opera house, so we're doing a recy while we're there with this in mind.

We look forward to seeing you at our Fundraiser and Soiree on Ferbruary 11th!
If you want to put your email on a comment box, and I will include you in a mail out reminder  in early February.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Come in.... .. .. .. . . . . . .

These Four Walls      at Lopdell House  

This is the inaugural show from These Four Walls, with more to come at different locations throughout the country.  (Easter next year we'll be doing a show for one night at the Hawke's Bay Opera House).
    The devised show is site-specific and draws on the history of the building itself to inspire the content. In particular the thirties when McClean’s Great Grand-father ran Lopdell house as a hotel. Expect to feel transported, with original music that touches on stories and music of the era woven into an original theatrical soundscape . . . .

This is an interdisciplinary work involving word and music based performance as well as theatre, in a site- specific theatrical context.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We're underway!!

As you can see we've had a fun photo shoot with startling results!   Soon I'll be adding bios and soon again, I'll be able to report on our planning meeting that we'll have soon.

  There's interview to be done, and recorded, a booth to be built, and a reccy trip to the Hawkes' Bay,
not to mention, rehearsals, and I'll be sharing pics and links and come back and check us out if you want to see more info and discoveries about this exciting work.

Chris O'Connor

Chris O’Connor sees himself as essentially an improvising musician, allowing him to partake in as many kinds of music as he gets the opportunity to. Chris has played with many local musicians and a growing number of visiting ones. While based in Wellington he often played at The Space when not touring.  He played with a band called Sanctus in Wellington, and joined up with Cloudboy for a time touring to Europe with them in 2002. He met and worked with many other artists while he was there.
      His work has seen him collaborating with theatre maker Warwick Broadhead and also with choreographer Alyx Duncan. Other projects have included cymbal duties with the NZ Dominion Centenary Brass Band and Andrew McMillan's New Pacific Music Ensemble.   
       Chris still does a lot of improv (Vitamin S). He is a ubiquitous and busy musician and can be found playing in Don McGlashan's band the Seven Sisters, and also with SJD and Flip Grater ( Flip Grater vid).  He also works with Stephen Bain in his theatre projects. 
       Chris has performed with Genevieve in a spoken word context now and then over the last decade, recently collaborating with her on the soundtrack for her short film Stasis
        Chris lives in Auckland with his partner Tahi and their baby girl Fern.