The Bruce Mason Centre Turns 25!


Takapuna landmark, the Bruce Mason Centre, celebrates 25 years as the heart of the North Shore’s performing arts community this August.

Auckland Live invites the city to celebrate the tens of thousands of performances that have taken place at the Centre over the last quarter-century with a special programme including free performances and family-friendly events for the local community, culminating in a weekend of free circus and dance.  

The Bruce Mason Centre first opened its doors in 1996 in a hard-won victory for the North Shore’s arts community. The opening was the culmination of twelve years of determined effort by the founding trust. Led by theatre stalwart Angela Antony, the group of passionate arts advocates first floated the idea of a home for the performing arts in Takapuna in 1984. Following more than a decade of fundraising, battling bureaucracy, and standing their ground in the face of threats to construct a carpark on the site, the trust finally celebrated the centre’s opening. The North Shore community were able to breathe a collective sigh of relief that they finally had a dedicated home for theatre and performance in what was then North Shore City.

After 25 years, and the establishment of Auckland’s supercity, Auckland Live now steers the ship of the Bruce Mason Centre, having taken over operations in 2014. Their governance and leadership have allowed the space to flourish as a first-rate venue with world-class programming, nestled in the heart of the North Shore. In recent years, the Centre has undergone extensive refurbishment, receiving a GOLD rating for accessibility from Be. Accessible, and is still very much a community space. Over 100,000 visitors come through the centre annually to experience a range of community arts and culture events, as well as Takapuna stops by national and international music, comedy, dance, concerts and speaking tours.

2021 also happens to be the centenary of the birth of the centre’s namesake: the iconic New Zealand playwright Bruce Mason CBE. Bruce Mason was born and raised in Takapuna, with his celebrated work The End of the Golden Weather serving as a love letter to his childhood growing up on the sun-kissed shores of the Waitematā Harbour.

On Sunday 8 August, The Bruce Mason Centre is opening its doors for a day of free performances. The line-up includes the city’s favourite kids programme, Auckland Live Pick & Mix, debuting circus performers The Dust Palace’s brand-new work, The Ice Cream is Melting! This gravity-defying piece, developed with the support of Auckland Live, uses playful performance to explore ideas about environmental change using the all-too-relatable dilemma of melting ice cream!

The Auckland Dance Schools’ Showcase honours the long tradition of North Shore dance students lighting up the Bruce Mason Centre stage with fast and fancy footwork in a variety showcase encompassing a range of ages and dance styles. There will be something to get everyone’s toes tapping, including performances by the Dance Collective (APDA), Neverland, RAW Dance, Theatrical Dance North Shore, Devonport School of Dance, Studio 246, Limelight Dance Studios, PformNZ and L’Ecole de Danse.

Bright and bold brass heralds further festivities the following day when The Auckland Principal Brass Quintet plays a celebratory set in the 25th birthday edition of the monthly Auckland Live Morning Melodies concert series. Book your ticket and prepare to hear some of your favourite tunes performed by the quintet and be sure to turn up early to enjoy a complimentary cuppa and biscuit.

Also perfectly timed for the birthday is Nightsong’s return season of the play Te Pō - a festival favourite inspired by the work of Bruce Mason, which comes to the North Shore for the first time. Originally co-produced by the Auckland Arts Festival and the New Zealand Festival of the Arts, this lark in the dark to find Bruce Mason has enchanted audiences in Auckland Central and Wellington, and finally comes home to the theatre named for the man himself - Bruce Mason.

Auckland Live invites the whole North Shore community to participate in this quarter-century milestone celebrating the jewel in the North Shore arts scene’s crown: the Bruce Mason Centre.


Auckland Live Presents:

Bruce Mason Centre 25th Birthday

Te Pō by Nightsong

Friday 30 & Saturday 31 July
Bruce Mason Centre
$20 - $59.95 (booking fees apply)

Tickets available via Auckland Live

The Ice Cream is Melting!
Part of Auckland Live’s Pick & Mix Series

Sunday 8 August, 10 AM

Bruce Mason Centre

Free event, bookings required.

Tickets available via Auckland Live

Auckland Dance Schools’ Showcase

Sunday 8 August, 2 PM

Bruce Mason Centre

Free event, bookings required.

Tickets available via Auckland Live

Morning Melodies

Monday 9 August, 11 AM

Bruce Mason Centre
$7 (booking fees apply)

Tickets available via Auckland Live


Hi-res imagery available via Dropbox.

For publicity enquiries, please contact:

Luke Wilson at Elephant Publicity | 027 621 6555



Bruce Mason Centre 25th Birthday Events

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