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Second Arts Centre Restoration Complete – Gymnasium Open Day


The second fully restored building at the Arts Centre – the Gymnasium – is now complete.

Members of the public are invited to attend the Gymnasium open day on Sunday, 27 July, from 2-5pm.

Located opposite the Registry building, the Gymnasium was formerly the Christchurch Boys’ High gym. Restoration and repair of the Gymnasium included strengthening of foundations and roof structures, the construction of new reinforced concrete shear walls, bracing of the clerestory roof-light and general repair to masonry. The work also uncovered unique original details, which have been unseen for decades.

The addition of a modern glass canopy adjacent to the building provides a covered multi-purpose courtyard.

The Free Theatre and Arts Circus are the new tenants of the restored building, making use of the large open space the building was first designed to provide by architect, William Armson in the 1880s.

Arts Centre chief executive André Lovatt says the completion of this next stage in the Arts Centre’s restoration programme is a significant achievement. “A lot of care and hard work has enabled us to restore the Gymnasium in a way that not only respects and highlights the original design, but also provides for a range of uses for tenants and the community.

“This is the first major arts tenancy for the Arts Centre, which reflects our focus on bringing the arts back to the site. The Free Theatre and Arts Circus concept is strongly aligned with our vision for the Arts Centre, incorporating community activity and arts performance, as well as the ability to educate and entertain.

“We invite all members of the public to come along and join in our celebration of this milestone.”

KEY DETAILS – Gymnasium open day

When: Sunday, 27 July

Time: 2.00pm – 5.00pm

Open to all members of the public.


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