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Akld Council/ATC: Mid City proposal not proceeding

Auckland City Council
Auckland Theatre Company

Joint Media release

13 July 2008

Mid City proposal not proceeding

Auckland Theatre Company and Auckland City Council have decided not to pursue the proposal to develop Mid City cinema complex after investigations into the potential transformation of the venue into a multi-use theatre centre highlighted a number of risks.

Both organisations felt the concept was worthy of serious consideration, however it has become clear that development of the complex into a multi theatre centre is not a viable option.

Kit Toogood QC, Auckland Theatre Company’s chairman, says that after a tremendous effort over the past two months, both parties have made a conscious decision to focus on alternative sites.

“This is a case of sensible decision making. While the proposal was an exciting possibility, the more we have looked at it, the more apparent it’s become that the Mid City site is too restricted and is not going to deliver three spaces. We felt this was too much of a compromise for the industry.”

“Auckland Theatre Company remains committed to working with the council to develop a home for Auckland’s theatre and dance companies.

“A great deal of useful research has been done over the past couple of months and we are already considering other possible sites for a dynamic world-class performance facility that is highly attractive to Auckland audiences and visitors alike,” says Mr Toogood.

The council and ATC spent $180 000 investigating the merits of the Mid City proposal.

Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee chairperson, councillor Greg Moyle, says a number of positive outcomes have resulted from the Mid City work.

“We have had great cooperation and input from the sector, as well as agreement on their needs and priorities. We have also put time into developing the specifications for the spaces that are priorities, which will be extremely helpful going forward.”

Mr Moyle says it is widely acknowledged that Auckland is constrained in the provision of professional arts venues.

“We know that doing nothing is not an answer. The council is looking to keep the momentum generated by the Mid City proposal going. We are committed to over time meeting the needs of the performing arts community through the provision of space to accommodate the needs of the Q Theatre, the Auckland Theatre Company, and the Edge. The focus will now shift to alternative sites and we will continue with the current venue study to help us determine what the next step is,” he says.

The venue study includes developing a strategic action plan that will guide and prioritise future investment in performing arts venues.

It was requested by councillors in February to update venue needs before they make a final decision on the Q theatre proposal.

Councillors noted that in light of the increase in costs for Q Theatre, and the issues raised around spaces to meet wider theatre user needs, there is a need to reconsider the best value investment Auckland City Council could make for the industry as a whole.

The findings of the venue study are expected to be ready by August.


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