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Back to his passion . . . South Canterbury Museum volunteer Wayne Pahl is archiving Theatre Royal posters from throughout the 1900s. PHOTOS: HELEN HOLT

by Helen Holt

Museum volunteer Wayne Pahl is travelling through time as he trawls through decades of show posters from Timaru’s Theatre Royal.

Mr Pahl began volunteering at the South Canterbury Museum in January and was immediately roped into sorting the five large boxes of show posters, dating from the 1940s to the 1990s.

He said it was a great nostalgia trip.

“I’ve seen posters of performers that I remember from when I was growing up in Nelson. And then you come across people you’d never heard of.

“It’s amazing some of the international acts that came to Timaru. They must’ve had a circuit around New Zealand that they all did.

“Timaru seemed to get a lot of Irish bands, as well as country and folk, but then you see big acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”

In the hundreds . . . One of the piles of posters. PHOTO: HELEN HOLT

The former history teacher said archiving brought him back to his passion.

“History is my passion, that’s why I came to volunteer at the museum. What interests me is what each poster tells you about the period. You have a tumbleweeds poster, then a politically incorrect era, then an inappropriate era, then a glossy era.

“You also come across different themes among the posters depending on the decade. Like the simple, bold font from the 1940s, compared to the glossy large photos, and things a bit more in your face.”

Treasure trove . . .
South Canterbury
Museum volunteer
Wayne Pahl enjoys the
variety of posters found
at Theatre Royal. PHOTO: HELEN HOLT

Museum director Philip Howe said the posters would be used in future exhibitions.

“We’re not sure what exhibits as of yet. But we do plan to use them in the future once they are archived.”

“We’re trying to put them into some kind of order,” Mr Pahl said.

“It’ll most likely be by the decades, but we will also sort them by local, touring and international acts. ”

Great variety . . . Paddington Bear also featured among the archives.

The boxes of posters were believed to have been stowed by the theatre manager, Alan Ellis, beginning in the 1940s.

Mr Howe said the posters were stored well.

“They’re not torn or dusty which is fantastic. We even have some double-ups which may come in useful later on.”