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5 November 2021
Palmerston North’s Centrepoint Theatre has provided the stage for a vibrant arts and culture scene in the Manawatu for over 45 years. It takes a willing army of actors, stagehands and supporters – and the backing of enthusiastic sponsors – to ensure the continued health of theatre in the provinces.
For more than 25 years Crombie Lockwood Manawatu has been a supporter of Palmerston North’s Centrepoint Theatre.
“Local art and culture don’t get a lot of corporate support, and I wanted to get involved with the Centrepoint Theatre because it was about doing the right thing for the community,” says Crombie Lockwood Manawatu Executive Broker, Gary Dome.
“Professional theatre in New Zealand really does struggle for survival. In fact, Centrepoint is now the only remaining operation of its type in regional New Zealand and is managed by a trust board,” he says.
Centrepoint has a fulltime staff of six people, and hosts up to eight productions annually. The Theatre also has a growing drama education arm for aspiring young actors, and holds workshops for schools and teachers.
“The relationship with the theatre is extremely important to us,” says Gary.
Once a year Centrepoint hosts an exclusive show for Crombie Lockwood employees and clients, which is always very popular. This year the Manawatu branch will be enjoying some classic Kiwiana with a performance of 'Cringe Worthy - The 80’s!'
“The relationship we have with Crombie Lockwood goes beyond just financial sponsorship,' says Centrepoint Theatre General Manager (and occasional actor), Kate Louise Elliott.
"It is much more than that for us because the Crombie Lockwood team really are our champions; they help to knit the community together for us. We enjoy having them come to the theatre, and on a day-to-day basis they are very personal in their approach. We know that we can ask them for help when we need it, and they’ll direct us to the right people. Because there is very strong trust, it’s almost like calling Dad for advice,” Kate laughs.
Kate Louise Elliot, General Manager, Centrepoint Theatre.
Look out for a cameo performance from the Crombie Lockwood Manawatu branch in this video thank you message from Centrepoint Theatre.
Kate says she moved back to Palmerston North to take up the role of General Manager for Centrepoint because she wanted to be a part of the community.
“The theatre trust board is very supportive, and the sponsors are also my business mentors. They give me the confidence and the assistance I need in my role to engage with our stakeholders, look after the finances, and fulfil the theatre’s vision.”
Centrepoint's production programme has had a distinctly New Zealand flavour since the early 1990s, and we aim to present live theatre that the audience wants to see.
She also says the theatre’s local audience isn’t afraid to tell her what they think of productions and respond well to seeing other Kiwis in the spotlight on stage.
"Centrepoint Theatre is about community, but that is a byproduct of the people that are a part of it. Our sponsors have been with us for a long time - Crombie Lockwood have been a sponsor for over 25 years. That sort of partnership builds community; it's like a really large family without the squabbling and it’s always Christmas but there aren’t any dud presents!"
"We have all been through a heck of a time with this virus (and we thought Y2K was gonna be the one…) and what we know more than ever is the value that “community” has – we need each other, we need to laugh together, we need to depend on each other, and when we know if we have each others' back we can fight another day.”