Eric's  Civic Theatre Site! Friends of the Civic Charitable Trust SOUVENIRS TO BUY From the Civic Photo archives IRIS NORGROVE -Wurlitzer Organist JOHN PATRICK FEENEY from Eric's photo album NEWSLETTER


     March is an exciting month because it is Auckland’s Art Festival which brings many internationals hows to the Civic and Auckland.
For What’s On? Go to    

Of interest was the film Raiders of the Lost Ark with live music.  This is a throwback to the days of silent cinema when prestigious theatres could afford a live orchestra, gradually being replaced with the Wurlitzer organ which could replicate an orchestra.      Smaller venues relied on the trustworthy pianist as epitomised in the delightful  1957 British film The Smallest Show on Earth directed by Basil Dearden,
      This was not the first time the Civic had screened films with live orchestra and one of the highlights of the July International Film Festival is the concluding night of silent movie and the APO Orchestra.  (One of the few times the Civic actually shows movies now)

I was told  by a delightfully aged person at one of my talks  they remembered being at the  Civic opening night and saw the silent film Three Live Ghosts.   Memory is a strange thing. The Civic did open with Three Live Ghosts but it was with sound. This film was based on a play by Frederic S Isham.  First filmed in 1922 (silent), then again in1929, and 1936.
    In the tradition of the  merge of theatre and cinema the Civic opened with full orchestra, Wurlitzer, stage show - before the film - and cabaret dancing after the screening.
    An enquiry re the Friends of the Civic and the website.  The Friends were formed into Charitable Trust to save the Civic from demolition as was advocated by council members prior to the construction of the Aotea Centre.
     With the task of saving the Civic accomplished there was no reason for the aTrust to continue had was recently disbanded.  James Wallace (who was Chairman of the Trustees) agree to continue our Golden Elephant Film award which was given to a NZ short filmmaker during the Film Festival, and to continue the website which I and Anna Soutar had originally  created.)


Stage spectacle on openingnight December 20th 1929