“Who knew bingo was so intense,” said a punter at our first ever Ensemble bingo event on Friday night. Held at the iconic Old Folks Ass., built in 1945 and a wonderful community space just off Auckland’s Karangahape Road, it was a night full of fun, noise and distraction on election-eve – plus a little bit of confusion, at the start, about how to actually play bingo…
Once someone finally Googled the rules, things got serious. The level of focus was unexpectedly intense, with some so excited when they won that they forgot to yell “bingo!”. There were several winners, picking up some fabulous prizes including Kowtow accessories, and a Videris voucher. Our overall bingo winner took home the ultimate wellbeing pack featuring Two Islands, Abel Odor, Chloe Zara and Mother Made.
“Good vibes only” was the theme of the night, and we nailed it. A fun playlist by Charlotte Ryan (listen to it here!) kept the energy levels high, as did plates of sausage rolls and spanakopita, served with Al Brown Simply Red kasundi ketchup. Guests sipped delicious Tipping Point ‘Winging It’ Prosecco, pear, lemon and blood orange flavoured sparkling waters by Almighty and Pal’s (the new beige can – vodka, pink guava, lime and soda – was a very big winner on the night).
The very loose dress code was ‘your party best’, with some interpreting that as political party colours, some pulling out a party dress or sequins, and others rocking up in what they had worn to work that day. Spot prizes were handed out to those wearing polka dots, or a bow.
Host and bingo caller Tanya Barlow was resplendent in a faux fur patterned coat and smiley face earrings, taking to the stage – in front of an escapist Italian cityscape backdrop borrowed from Twenty-seven Names – to pull numbered balls out of the world’s smallest bingo cage (“a bingo cage for ants!” as she described it). The stage was also decorated with an Ensemble purple bow (a giant version of our Caitlin Snell hair bow), crafted for the occasion by Ella Esau.
This was Ensemble’s first foray into ticketed events, and it was wonderful to meet and mix with some of our readers and beloved Ensemble Members. Other bingo players on the night included designers Sarah-Jane Duff of Lost and Led Astray, Frances Lowe of Loclaire, Catherine Boddy and Heather Brennan Evans, Duncan Greive of The Spinoff and makeup artists Kiekie Stanners and Richard Symons.
We ended the evening with cake: a Costco sheet cake, iced with a very Ensemble-esque bow and the words ‘happy birthday’ (it wasn’t our birthday, we just liked the bow, duh…).
Photographer Abigail Dell'Avo was there to capture the fun, games and great outfits.