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Stunning New Theatre Earmarked For Auckland City

Thursday 17th November, 2005

Stunning New Theatre Earmarked For Auckland City

Auckland City Council today put its seal of approval on plans to build a new flexible theatre space in the heart of the city.

The new purpose built theatre will have a flexible auditorium where staging and seating can move around, a seating capacity of 350 – 460, and a bar and café. The venue will offer a diverse programme of dance, theatre, music and related media, and is designed as a place for artists, audiences and Aucklanders alike to enjoy and benefit from.

It will be located just behind the Auckland Town Hall between Queen Street and Greys Avenue and next to the Silo and Classic theatres.

Auckland City Council today committed to provide capital funding of $4.6 million as well as land, buildings and operational support for the planned venue. The total cost of the project is $12.5 million.

The proposed theatre is the “dreamchild” of the New Theatre Initiative (NTI), an incorporated society widely representing the professional performing arts. NTI was formed in 2000 to fill the gap in medium-sized spaces seen as the most pressing after the demise of the Watershed.

Chairman of the New Theatre Initiative, Mr Andrew Caisley says that The New Theatre Initiative has worked intensively with Auckland City over two and a half years to develop the business case for the new theatre and to lay the foundations for a capital fundraising campaign.

“This is a fantastic decision from the Council,” Mr Caisley says. “When you look at other cities similar to Auckland, they all have this size and type of theatre in their mix. It’s a critical part of the cluster of live performance opportunities that energises people and makes for the ‘creative buzz’ of a city.”

“Not only do you create a home for arts professionals, you create a very accessible, exciting destination for people to come to. Our partnership with the Council builds on their already significant investment in the Aotea precinct,” Mr Caisley says.

Council’s support comes as a huge boost to all involved in the project, which to date has attracted huge industry support. It also means NTI is now halfway towards achieving its goal for the capital. Plans by NTI for a major public fundraising campaign in 2006 to raise the remaining $6.4 million are already underway.

Councillor Penny Sefuiva, Chair of the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee, says “the Council has a strategic vision to create an arts and cultural precinct which will encourage and stimulate the artistic and cultural life of Auckland. We are thrilled to be a major funder of this project.”

Construction is projected to start in 2007 and the plan is to open the new theatre in 2008.


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