The anniversary of the first show to ever grace the Hawke’s Bay Opera House 100 years ago – Chinese musical comedy San
Toy - is on Sunday, and Hastings is celebrating.
The commemoration of the Grand Old Lady’ starts at 11am, with the official introductions of the artists – represented by
Freeman White – and a brief history of the building.
And then, of course, there will be the unveiling of the art works celebrating each of the 10 decades of the opera
house’s existence. Five of the 11 artists involved are expected to be there on the day: John Eaden, Desna Schollum, Timo
Rannali, Kate Mackenzie and Freeman White.
Some people will have already had a glimpse as the panels, reproductions of the originals, went up on Thursday. But now
they are covered until the ‘big reveal’ on Sunday.
There will be lots of fun for the kids and their parents – with 1920s games, music by the Twin City Stompers, the Napier
Operatic Society performing an extract from the Wizard of Oz and black and white Charlie Chaplin movies.
The road will be closed for the celebrations which will allow people to take a close look at the 103 metres of art.
Works by 10 artists’ each represent a decade of the 100 years, while the 11th artist’s works covers special highlights.
The opera house has been at the heart of Hawke’s Bay’s community since it opened in October 1915.
Over the following 99 years it has hosted an amazingly diverse range of artists, productions and events, from boxing
matches and opera, to musicals and galas.
The opera house and Municipal Buildings were closed last year when it was found they were earthquake-prone. A project to
investigate options for the future is underway; however in the meantime the building turns 100 years old this month.