Long-time lurker, first-time commenter.
In October 2011, I was visiting Dunedin for the first time as an adult, scoping out a place to live during my Mozart Fellowship the following year.
Separate to that, Paul Smith of the Dunedin Fringe had found my name on a Theatreview write-up of a Wellington production called Zomburlesque, and wanted to entice us to his festival. I had a phone conversation with him about venues, and he recommended I look at Sammy's.
Sam Chin unlocked the place for me and walked me through. We blocked off dates there and then. Despite its out-of-the-way location and its larger than necessary size for our expected audience, I couldn't think of a venue more ideal than Sammy's for a show called Zomburlesque. My excitement grew and grew as Dunedin locals told me its legends. Four months later, the Wellington crew flew into town, walked in the door the day before opening night, and lost their shit. Damn it looked good.
On opening night, one of our characters led a zombie walk from the Octagon to Sammy's. We had a jug band play on the procession; we'd borrowed a coffin from Allen Hall (which people people carried on their shoulders all the way), and we had one hell of a season.