What does the mailbox featured in The Color Purple, the ship’s wheel from Peter Pan, and Fiona’s dress from Shrek the Musical all have in common? They are only a few of the hundreds of items up for bids in a fundraising auction for Halifax’s Neptune Theatre.
“It’s the first time we’ve done an auction, but in the past, we have done things like yard sales,” says Neptune Theatre’s director of development Leslie MacDonald by phone. “I’m literally sitting in one of the rehearsal halls here with over 500 items tagged with numbers and photographs to put on the website and ready to take to Mariner Auctions. I’ll be adding today some old set drawings from the early days of Neptune, which are just gorgeous.”
Neptune is also offering items donated by patrons and supporters, including antiques, artwork, and household items, in addition to the show memorabilia.
“We got way more items than I expected,” says MacDonald. “I was hoping that we would hit 500 items in the auction and was thinking we were going to get 350 donated, and that was stretching it, but we’ve now topped 600 items. There is a huge variety, and I am just blown away by the level of quality of the things they’ve given to us to auction off. I really, really appreciate it.”
Currently attracting the highest bid in the auction is the leg lamp from its production of A Christmas Story: The Musical. MacDonald is not surprised that it has attracted so much attention from bidders.
“It was in high demand even when the show was on. Everybody wanted it,” she says. “I mean, the leg lamp is A Christmas Story. It’s so classic, and it’s so just reminiscent of the show.”
Wondering through the props and costume, MacDonald does admit she had hoped to get a few of the more iconic items from past shows.
“I would have loved to have gotten the alligator and dog puppet from Peter Pan, those kinds of things, but they’re just not giving them up because they reuse them and redo them,” she says.
Another unique item is a private Zoom or Facebook Live concert with musical theatre artist Heather McGuigan. No stranger to Neptune Theatre, McGuigan has appeared in such shows as Mary Poppins and Shrek the Musical and most recently in Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years in 2020.
“She’s been on our stage many, many times, and she’s just lovely,” says MacDonald. “And she donated this live concert, and it’s doing really well. So it was lovely to see somebody from the community step up and give their time.”
An important fundraiser for Neptune Theatre, largely dark since March last year due to the pandemic, the funds raised will help the company re-open and mount its 2021-2022 season.
The Neptune Theatre fundraising auction continues online until March 16. Visit marinerauctions.com to make your bid.