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BATS Theatre Hopes You’ll Haunt Them This Halloween

A Spooky Fundraiser for the Whole Family (including your pets!)

This October’s spooky season BATS Theatre is raffling off the chance for fans to take on the role of theatre ghost for the year in a new fundraiser. Winners will experience an epic ghostly make-over with prosthetics, make-up and special effects by Wētā Workshop’s co-founder Richard Taylor.

“Many theatres around the world have stories of ghosts in their spaces. This raffle is a fun way for BATS Theatre to honour the theatre ghost legacy leading up to Halloween,” says BATS Partnerships Manager Lyndee-Jane Rutherford. “But most importantly, the raffle will help us raise funds to bring BATS back after a difficult few years for the arts.”

The winners will receive a suitably spooky ghost make-over by Richard Taylor at Wētā Workshop, with costumes designed by Costume Cave, they’ll experience a fun photoshoot by Wētā Workshop’s photographer on set and their portrait will then be hung in the theatre for a year of “haunting”. BATS is looking for three ghost mascots, one for each of the theatres’ spaces: the Stage, the Dome and the Studio.

“We’re after humans to “haunt” the Stage and the Dome, but for the Studio, your pet could win the role of the Studio’s pet ghost. That’s pretty damn cute,” says BATS Theatre programmer Alesha Ahdar. There are three raffles, one for each theatre space and winning ticket buyers can nominate themselves or someone else for the ghostly experience. Pet fans can nominate their own pet or someone else’s and the pet’s photo will be made over by BATS artists and hung in the Studio.

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There are tonnes of prizes to be won, thanks to BATS Theatre’s partners and friends, including a limited edition Wētā Workshop high-end collectable which retails at $1,110.00, vouchers from Garage Project, Rubber Monkey, Deluxe, tickets to BATS, Embassy, Roxy Cinemas, AF Drinks Taster packs, BATS merch and much more. There will also be a limit on tickets, only 100 for each of the three raffles.

Every good theatre has their own resident “ghostly presence”. "At BATS we have our very own ghost kitty, Cyclops. BATS has had two disastrous fires early on in life with Cyclops, being the only casualty. Cyclops was a beloved theatre cat so his presence at BATS is friendly if not a little annoying when he can't decide if he wants the windows opened or closed." Ghosts have always been a big part of theatres around the world, whether it be a superstition, a feeling of being watched, a vibe, missing props and the flash of someone watching from the stage wings or from the audience. It’s believed that ghosts were stage managers or patrons. Others are embittered failed actors.

Many theatres forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic renewed the tradition of ghost lights, an electric light illuminated on the stage, as a way of indicating the theatres will re-open. “It’s a way of letting the theatre ghosts know that we will return”. During the pandemic, Garage Project, one of BATS’ partners, created the Ghost Light beer to initially raise money to support BATS. Proceeds of donated beer now go directly to supporting live performance venues around New Zealand.

This fundraiser also marks the launch of BATS’ new Bequest Programme. BATS is on the hunt for those with BATS in their wills so BATS can plan for the future, calling upon those who support BATS while they’re living to also support BATS when they are no longer with us. For those considering a gift to BATS in their will, BATS has partnered with local law firm Succeed Legal to offer a free standard will (up to the value of $800).

BATS is a not-for-profit and without donations and sponsorship BATS simply cannot deliver what audiences and artists love. BATS needs to fundraise to continue their mission of keeping the theatre accessible for audiences and artists. BATS kaumātua Rangimoana Taylor says “it’s a fun way to raise funds for the theatre, there is sure to be lots of interest so get in quick for your raffle tickets”.

Who will be the ghosts of BATS Theatre in the coming year? It could be you! Raffle tickets go on sale 12th October at 2pm and will be drawn on Halloween, 31st October. Tickets are available on the BATS website bats.co.nz.

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