Wed, Jun 22, 2022 12:05 PM

Theatre boss ushers in new era


Matt Brown

A newly appointed theatre boss found himself ushering in a new era –when he stepped up to fill a front of house role.

Joseph Casalme has taken the top job at the ASB Theatre it has been revealed, starting as chief executive last month.

And just days into his new job, the newest addition volunteered as an usher to fill a staffing gap.

The former event organiser and producer says he was happy to help as an excited audience flocked in to see Les Misérable.

“In the second or third show, they were missing a couple of ushers. I said, yeah, I can do that.

“It’s feeling the vibe, mingling with the crowd, seeing the performance – the standing ovation.

“People want to enjoy events again. People want to celebrate again.”

Born and raised in Manila in the Philippines, Joseph has made the move from Auckland to Blenheim with his wife.

He says he has already been impressed with the calibre of the team at the theatre and the quality of the shows.

“The first time I entered the theatre I said, egad, this is probably one of the most beautiful new theatres I’ve ever seen – and I thought, how can a town have the vision to build something like this.

“There’s a rich tradition of arts groups here. Then I saw Les Misérables and thought, holy cow.

“I was so proud of everyone involved in the production. I’m discovering more about the rich history and tradition of the performing arts in Marlborough. I know there’s something very special here and this is the reason why the Trust exists.”

With a background behind the camera, in front of the camera and graphic design, Joseph says his main priority now is strengthening the business.

As people adapt to living and working in a pandemic, there is a sense of enthusiasm to get back to normal, he says.

“Post Covid, every business is trying to make sense of the past two years.

“It’s not like a restaurant where you can just open your doors – there’s a bit of recovery time there.

“We’re still technically in a pandemic, and in the last few weeks we’ve had staff off with Covid.

“But I think the general sentiment is people want to move on.”

Joseph was previously General Manager for Community and Schools Programmes at Waka Pacific Trust, which owns and operates the Vodafone Events Centre, Vector Wero Whitewater Park and the Momentum Hub in Auckland.

He says he is also excited to see more business events and conferences at the Marlborough Events Centre, which is operated by Marlborough Civic Theatre Trust.

“Marlborough is a fantastic business events destination. The Events Centre and the different venue spaces at the ASB Theatre can be configured to suit almost any kind of event.

“We are also surrounded by high quality accommodation right here in the town centre, with a wide range of experience activities on our doorstep.”

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