Feb 26, 2008

This Week in Canterbury History

Lyttelton, 4th of March 1855
The legendary sheep rustler James Mackenzie, sentenced to five years' imprisonment, made a third escape from the Lyttelton Goal, but was re-captured eleven days later. He was unconditionally pardoned in January 1856.

Scots Highlander 'Jock' Mackenzie became one of New Zealand's most enduring folk heroes when he was arrested for stealing 1000 sheep from The Levels station, near Temuka.

Mackenzie's daring exploits won him the admiration of many of the marginalised; small would-be farmers wanting their own land, or resenting the power of plutocratic wealthy landowners, could identify with him, as could those who didn't fit the smugly Puritan mould of bourgeois Canterbury society.

Theatre Royal Celebrates a Century

The third Theatre Royal, which stands opposite the original site in Christchurch's Gloucester Street East, opened on the 25th of February, 1908 with a performance of the Broadway Musical The Blue Moon.

There is a display of theatre programmes from the last 100 years at the Christchurch Central Library (25 February - 16 March 2008, daily 10:00am - 4:00pm). The presentation also includes a 1997 documentary film Shadows on the Stage. Narrated by Judy Newburgh, an Usher at the Theatre Royal for over forty years, the film reveals not only the theatre's history and architecture, but also a behind the scenes account of life at the theatre. The screenings are every hour between 10 am and 4pm.

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