In 1954 a group of five play reading enthusiasts decided to form a drama group. This later became the Papakura Drama Club, with the object of staging plays. Their early productions were mostly one act plays staged in the local Methodist (now Crossroads) church hall in Papakura. Later, the Club moved to Papakura High School and became one of the first night classes held there, open to the local community.

The advent of television diminished the size of audiences drastically, so in 1969, after a particularly difficult period, it was decided to try a different genre of theatre – a musical! Salad Days was the Club’s first choice and it proved a great success.

The Club's name was then changed to Papakura Theatre Club so that all forms of theatre could be presented, not just drama. From that time until the present day, the Club has aimed to produce a mix of musicals and plays, averaging three shows a year.

For the first few musical productions, the Club had only one piano to accompany shows. As the club grew, a second piano was acquired and by 1975, a small ensemble had been formed to accompany the Club’s production of The Sound of Music. With the formation of the Papakura Civic Orchestra in 1976 a first class group became available for backing most of our major shows in those early years.

For twenty-five years the Club was without a permanent home. Props, wardrobe, scenery and flats were stored in garages, basements or anywhere space could be found. The Papakura Borough Council were able to provide us with an old building on the outskirts of the town. Sadly, time and time again our precious costumes, props and set pieces suffered much heartbreaking damage from vandals. For rehearsals, the Council made available a classroom in the old Papakura Central School. This also had to be used for constructing and painting scenery. Often the cast had to adjust their steps and routines when transferring to the High School stage for the final rehearsals because they had rehearsed in cramped conditions then transferred to a larger performance area.

In 1980, the Ministry of Transport took over the old Ardmore Teachers' College area (including the hall). A chance phone call led to our almost immediate occupancy of the hall. This gave us access to the stage and lecture/music room, adjoining dressing rooms with toilets, extensive side rooms for storing wardrobe and a huge basement for all the flats and scenery. However, because of the condition of the building it could not be licensed for public performances. But, it was just the impetus the Club needed, and many happy times were had there! In the mid-80s we moved our public performances to Rosehill College and continued to work between Ardmore and the College.

In 1990 the Council owned Hawkins Theatre was opened and Papakura Theatre Company (PTC) had the honour of performing the first show in this new theatre. The show we chose to perform was Hello Dolly! From then until 1997, PTC performed all its productions at Hawkins Theatre. However, since we have had our own performance venue we have only returned to the bigger theatre occasionally, one being our highly acclaimed production of Les Misérables in 2008.

Eventually we were given notice that the hall at Ardmore Teachers’ College was to be demolished and we had to look around for somewhere else to rehearse and call home. In 1994, PTC bought part of the old Choice Market building in Elliot Street, which became our new home and after much hard work and input from a lot of volunteers, including Drury Rotary members, we had the warm and intimate space now known as Off Broadway Theatre. The first public performance at Off Broadway was in 1997, when we presented An Evening of Rodgers & Hammerstein.

In January 2003 Papakura Theatre Club changed its name again and became Papakura Theatre Company and as other sections of this website show, PTC has gone on to win many awards, of which everyone is justifiably proud!

Although over the years much has changed, a lot of what the members of PTC now enjoy is due to the dedication of those early 'pioneers', but each generation leaves its mark and PTC continues to thrive as Papakura’s community theatre.

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