History of Rotorua Musical Theatre
In 1944, Mr Norman Day offered his services as a producer to Rotorua RSA in a bid to raise money to fund a residential club for Service Men and Women resting from War Service. So it was that after a short season of The Gipsy Rover in August 1945, a public meeting was held to propose a society for the encouragement of theatrical performances. After an enthusiastic gathering a steering committee was formed and Rotorua Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society came into being. The first official presentation was A Country Girl, in 1946.
Up until 1971 most productions were presented at Rotorua’s Majestic Theatre in Tutanekai Street (long gone now), and from 1972 our new venue became the newly refurbished Civic Theatre.
1979 saw the Society move into an old BOC Gas building in Riri Street, which for two years served as the rehearsal hall. The President at the time saw great possibilities for a theatre/restaurant here and the Society opened its own theatre home (Casa Blanca Theatre) in 1981 with On Stage Review, compiled and directed by Imelda Nixon.
Over the next few years improvements were made, productions became more polished and adventurous, and eventually a major reconstruction of the Casa Blanca Theatre back stage area was undertaken, and a small orchestra pit was installed.
In 63 years we have produced 115 major shows, innumerable social occasions, 21 Presidents, 26 Secretaries, 18 Treasurers, 52 Directors, 48 Musical Directors and Choral Trainers, 34 Choreographers and 41 Stage Managers, not to mention hundreds of Performers and skilful behind-the-scenes personnel who give their talents and time to the Society.