Auckland City is a pretty awesome place to live.
We’re so lucky to have an urban city mixed with historical buildings right next to the ocean. Two of my favourite buildings in our city are the Auckland Town Hall, and The Civic Theatre.
Both buildings are located within a 2 minute walk from each other, and I was super lucky to do a free tour inside each this weekend. I have a huge passion for history, and if I’m not writing for my blog, or reading a book – I’m usually watching a documentary about history. I really wanted to learn more about both of these beautiful locations.
We began our Saturday at The Civic, going through multiple hallways and rooms talking about the gorgeous history and rich decorative interior design. The Civic was built in the late 1920’s and is one of the only themed theatres left in the world. There are so many design influences including India, Asia, and Egyptian decorative features.
My favourite are probably the elephants and Egyptian motives on the ceiling (Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in the early 20’s which influenced some of the Civic’s interior design).
Did you know most of the interior is made up of plaster and paper mache? Amazing right!
I feel like when I talk to others about the Civic, they always mention the stars. We you look up in the main theatre, the deep blue sky has lots of stars. Right before the show starts, two shooting stars always fly over the crowd too. Have you ever been lucky enough to spot them?
I think my favourite part of this tour was standing in the middle backstage, and having the curtains open up to show the entire theatre, with a spotlight. I felt like a 1920’s showgirl.
It was absolutely amazing, and I urge everyone to try to fit in one of the tours if you can. Spaces were very limited and didn’t last long, I had waited forever. My advice would be to sign up to email alerts from Auckland Live so you’re in the know.
On Sunday we went along to our second tour, within Auckland’s Town Hall.
One of my first memories of the Town Hall was when I was quite young. My granddad took me to see the musical ‘Chicago’ (it’s still my favourite musical show ever!). I loved seeing how dressed up everyone got and the show was amazing. I feel extremely lucky to have also graduated from University in the Town Hall, it’s a special place to me.
This specific tour concentrated on the larger than life organ which stands proudly at the back of the hall. It’s enormous, and even bigger when you’re right up close to it and it’s looming over you. We learned all about this instrument, from how it was built, how to play it as well as seeing over 5000 pipes back-stage on all three levels. I couldn’t get my brain around how big it was.
Once backstage, there were so many narrow little dark hallways behind the organ, it was very hot and I felt almost a little claustrophobic. Only 4 people can do the organ tour at once because it’s so small backstage.
The tour guide asked me if I wanted to play it, but to be honest I was too nervous about breaking the thing!
It was amazing seeing some of the old original pipes from 1911, as well as the newer refurbished pipes. Did you know the Town Hall organ is actually made up of a number of organs? It’s not one giant organ, which most people think. It’s actually a bunch of them, put together to work in harmony.
If you love history, I would highly recommend either of these two tours. Both of them were so amazing, I learnt so much and I feel a little closer to this wonderful city of mine.