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Q Theatre success is cause for celebration for Dow Design

Media release


16 December 2011


Q Theatre success is cause for celebration for Dow Design

Recently home to the outrageously funny, Tartuffe, an audience hit from Silo Theatre company, and currently hosting Auckland Theatre’s version of Roald Dahl’s ‘The Twits’, which has just had extra shows added, it seems Queen’s Street’s new Q Theatre has well and truly established itself on the Auckland arts scene.

After many years of planning and development before opening, the theatre’s success is cause for celebration for Dow Design, who has worked as consultants to the Q Theatre initiative for seven years.

“Q was born out of a shared vision and determination, and it’s been a huge honour to be part of its evolution,” says Director at the design agency, Annie Dow. “There’s no other freeform performance space like it in New Zealand, and just like the theatre itself, we designed the Q brand to be fluid, agile, vibrant and diverse. We chose the simplicity of the name for similarly appropriate reasons, Q for Queen Street, Q for queue, Q for theatre cue.”

The first purpose-built theatre in central Auckland since the Aotea Centre opened in 1990; Q includes some of the most advanced high-tech features to be found in contemporary performance spaces. Partly contained within a heritage building, it is also an interesting architectural venue.


“The interior is a great mix of old baroque and contemporary styles,” says Dow Design Creative Director, Donna McCort. “It follows the template we first came up with to harness the focus of something as loose as a creative space, and express its dynamic, creative and inclusive qualities. A good example of this is the way-finding signage which is designed to be welcoming and guides one around what is really a quite complicated space.




“We collaborated with Cheshire Architects to incorporate natural textures and hand-done artistry to make the space feel comfortable, as well as vibrant mixes and juxtapositions that help encapsulate Q's essence of the human spirit, ingenuity and excellence.”

Q Director Carla Theunissen says that the involvement of the theatre community and Dow Design as a partner can be seen in the design layout. “Their insight from the beginning, as industry practitioners is what makes Q different. The venue was planned perfectly to fit artists’ needs, tell their story and celebrate art. It is a fantastic, funky, and most importantly flexible performance space, where almost anything is possible.”

The Q logo and signature elements first seen in the street hoarding during construction have been carried through to the interior of the theatre and its promotional material.

“The freeform creative line and expressive splodges represent artistry and expressive energy,” says Donna McCort. “While the customised typeface of the logo is simple and round in form, but rich and bold in colour, creating a confident, contemporary and vibrant look.”

As part of a creative committee, Donna participated in the naming process of the different areas within Q, finally selecting ‘Rangatira’ (weaver of people) for the main reconfigurable auditorium, ‘Loft’ for the flexible studio space upstairs, ‘Vault’ for the intimate performance and rehearsal room, and ‘Citizen Q’ and ‘Lounge’ for the bar and café.

Dow Design recently completed a donors’ wall, which recognises the funding that made Q possible, from Auckland City Council, the Lotteries Grants Board, the ASB Trust and private donors.

Note to Editor


Dow Design:


Established in 1993 by Annie Dow, Dow Design creates brands that people love and connect with. They are known for bridging the gap between cutting edge design and commercial sense.


Dow Design’s success in developing the branding for Auckland’s new Q Theatre, follows the recent rebranding of Columbine, Hellers and Brancott Estate (Montana) wines.


Dow Design has also created corporate identities for Stafix, Milmeq, Realcold engineering, Veda Advantage and Kellands Real Estate.

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