Civic honour proposed

    Sophie Ineson (9) makes a presentation to councillors requesting a dressing room at the Civic Theatre be named after Rowena Jackson. Photo: Supplied

    NINE-YEAR-OLD Sophie Ineson’s call for a Civic Theatre dressing room to be named after a legend of Southland dance seems to have struck the right note with Invercargill City councillors.

    Sophie made a passionate and well-spoken presentation at a full council meeting on Tuesday when she outlined the research she had carried out on Invercargill woman Rowena Jackson.

    Jackson was a leading New Zealand ballerina in the 1940s and 1950s.

    She moved on to teach and direct ballet and in 1961 was awarded an MBE.

    Sophie, who is a dancer herself, was impressed with what she had learned about Jackson and believed her legacy should live on through the naming of a dressing room at the Civic Theatre.

    “What concerned me is the story of Rowena Jackson could be lost,” Sophie said.

    “My idea is that one of the dressing rooms should be named after Rowena Jackson, this will mean her name will be cited by more people. People who know Rowena Jackson will be inspired to go out on stage and perform to their very best, and people who don’t, it will start a conversation for them to find out more.”

    The presentation and idea was welcomed by councillors, including Invercargill Venue and Events Management (IVEM) chairman Darren Ludlow.

    IVEM operates the Civic Theatre.

    “I can take this to IVEM and at our August meeting we can certainly discuss, probably very positively, the renaming of the rehearsal room upstairs, as the Rowena Jackson Rehearsal Room,” Cr Ludlow said.

    Fellow IVEM director Toni Biddle also backed Sophie’s idea.

    “The attributes you mentioned Rowena Jackson has, you should definitely consider them for yourself. You were beautiful and very precise,” Cr Biddle said.

    “I think what you are doing here shows to the community that potentially anyone can come and speak to council. I’m absolutely delighted with your proposal, and being on the board of IVEM I really look forward to making that decision.”


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