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Set to SHINE at theatre reopening

The first inklings of spring and the reopening of the refurbished Lawson Field Theatre will be celebrated with SHINE, a variety show and ribbon-cutting on Saturday.

All-round entertainer Scott Casley is MC for the official reopening of the theatre at which a showcase of local and international talent will be in full flight from the moment the doors open.

Sponsors, donors and anyone who enjoys a laugh, live music and the Lawson Field, with its new look created by Architects 44, are invited to the event.

Pre-show wine and canapes will be served in the Rose Room to the sound of ukulele duo Heni and Marara.

Brief formalities will close with a kapa haka performance from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Uri a Maui, a group of total immersion school students practising for the nationals in November.

The variety concert includes the sound of swing with big hits such as the Frank Sinatra belter New York, New York performed by the select multi-instrumentalists of the Chris Reynolds Big Band.

American jazz pianist, recording artist, Waiheke Jazz Festival founder and Poverty Bay Blues Club patron David Paquette will bring New Orleans piano jazz to the show.

Then it’s time to jazz up the evening even more with Tessa Beattie’s Dancefit Studios 12-strong Elite Troupe, who will perform The Schuyler Sisters, a musical theatre item from the show Hamilton.

Under the direction of international quartet singer Toni Griffin, the 18-member Savvy a cappella chorus will share their love of four-part harmony singing with the audience.

After the interval, the Gisborne ukulele G’zukers Good Time Band perform a range of well-known favourites followed by Tairawhiti Arts Festival director Tama Waipara, a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, composer, actor, performer, musical director and producer.

Waipara’s role as festival director means Gisborne has not seen this artist in performance — until now.

A Manhattan School of Music Masters graduate, his album Fill Up The Silence won Best Roots Album at the New Zealand Music Awards. He co-won the 2017 APRA Silver Scroll for Best Original Music in a Feature Film for Mahana and composed music for Merata.

He has also performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and orchestras in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.

Professional singer Mere Boynton will join classical guitarist Chaitanya Temepara and taonga puoro player Norm Heke in a performance that features songs in te reo Maori by composers Hirini Melbourne and Gillian Whitehead, and an aria in Portuguese by Villa Lobos.

Made up of Sue Ngawati Osborne on vocals and tambourine, saxophonist and flute player Abudaya and guitarist/singer Nigel Marshall, Cosmic Cowgirls will perform five of Marshall’s original songs.

Savvy return to round off the evening with a sunshine-themed tune and a little surprise.

War Memorial Theatre Trust’s Cherie Mirko said the trust raised more than $1.5 million towards the theatre complex refurbishment, boosting the pledged grants and $1.1 million Gisborne District Council had earmarked for the $3.6 million upgrade.

“The variety show provides an opportunity to acknowledge the generosity of the individuals, funders and trusts. Various upgrades including earthquake strengthening will enable the complex to provide a place for the community to come together and live up to its theme of being much more than a theatre.”

BIG SHOW, BIG SOUND: The Chris Reynolds Big Band will be one of many acts that include dance, jazz, kapa haka, a cappela and the comedic genius of MC Scott Casley at the official reopening of the Lawson Field Theatre on Saturday. Tickets are on sale. Picture by Mark Peters