The Auckland Theatre Trust was formed in 1966 to raise funds for the establishment of a professional theatre company in Auckland. An old playhouse in France Street (off Karangahape Road), built in 1910 and later used as a cinema, was extensively refitted to serve as the company's headquarters and principal venue. The Mercury Theatre opened in 1968 with a production of J. M. Barrie's comedy, 'The admirable Crichton'. During the next few decades, the company attracted some of New Zealand's top acting talents (such as Roy Billing, Pam Ferris, Lee Grant, George Henare, Michael Hurst, Ian Mune and Jennifer Ward-Lealand) and finest directors (such as Raymond Hawthorne, Jonathan Hardy, Paul Minifie and Mervyn Thompson).
|Ref: 4-3408B, Mercury Theatre, c.1928, Si George Grey Special Collections|
The theatre also featured the work of Roger Hall, Bruce Mason, Greg McGee, Carolyn Burns, Renee Taylor, Anthony McCarten, Stephen Sinclair, Vincent O'Sullivan, Maurice Shadbolt and other New Zealand playwrights.
|Ref: 7-C1933, selection of items from the Mercury Theatre records, 1966-1992, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
Some archival material was deposited with the library in 1988 and the collection was greatly expanded after the company's closure. Liquidators gave a small librarian team,, less than twenty-four hours to rescue the Mercury's voluminous records from the France Street premises.
|Ref: 4-3408, Mercury Theatre, c.1928, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
You can search for these records in the Manuscripts Online database, which holds details on the papers, theatre archives and scrapbooks of the theatre. Whilst the Ephemera Index databases has the information on the theatr's programmes, flyers and tickets (to search both databases, simply enter Mercury Theatre into the search box). The main library catalogue also holds a number of heritage resources relating to the theatre.