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Stars Help To Launch Performing Arts Centre

Media release
March 9, 2000


Leading New Zealand performers, Michael Hurst and Jennifer Ward-Lealand, yesterday helped to launch a fundraising drive to raise $2 million for the development of a new performing arts centre at Western Springs.

The project is a partnership between The Performing Arts School and Western Springs College to build a 300-seat flexible theatre, with three performance studios, green room, offices, and art gallery.

Michael Hurst and Jennifer Ward-Lealand, the centre’s newly announced patrons, hosted the fundraising launch that included a special 80-strong youth performance to mark the occasion.

The centre, the first dedicated facility of its kind, will be located opposite the Auckland Zoo. It is due to open in January 2002 and will be aptly named The Auckland Performing Arts Centre at Western Springs.

Performing Arts School Artistic Director, Joanne Kelly, says the centre will be a place that will enrich the lives of students, participants, audiences and the community through the magic of dance, drama and performance.

“It is imperative that we have this dedicated facility at Western Springs that will serve a large population in central Auckland and beyond,” says Joanne.

“The centre will focus on youth and will be a place to celebrate the multicultural liveliness of Auckland. It will have a constant buzz all-year-round, with Western Springs College students using the facility during the day, and The Performing Arts School programmes running at nights and weekends.”

“Studios will also be made available to professional groups who are badly in need of appropriate affordable rehearsal space in Auckland.”

Already the project has attracted the attention of leading contemporary choreographers, Shona McCullagh and Douglas Wright. They will launch a new National Contemporary Dance Company in 2001 and have communicated their desire to house the company in the new centre.

The Performing Arts School is a community-based, non-profit organisation. It is the largest school of its kind in New Zealand and although programmes currently run throughout Auckland, it aims to expand nationwide in the future.

Last year The Performing Arts School celebrated its ten-year anniversary. The school boasts 700 students each term for classes in dance, screen and theatre acting, writing, singing and video production classes.

Western Springs College is known for its outstanding achievements in visual and performing arts, offering drama at all form levels. The college needs new teaching and performing spaces to expand its success in these areas.


For further information please contact:
Joanne Kelly --------- Sarah Rogan
Artistic Director --------- PR Consultant
The Performing Arts School --------- Beyond Public Relations
Ph: 09 845 0290 --------- Ph: 09 306 0968
Fax: 09 845 0127 --------- Mob: 025 234 3238

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