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Happy 50th Birthday Founders Theatre!

Happy 50th Birthday Founders Theatre!

4 December 2012

Hamilton’s iconic Founders Theatre is turning 50 and the community is invited to help celebrate at the upcoming public open day this Saturday.

The open day will be a chance for the community to go to places they’ve never been before by taking a behind scenes tour of the theatre and to take a trip down memory lane by checking out the range of theatre memorabilia.

It will also give people the opportunity to get an up close look at one of Hamilton’s most prestigious art pieces – Ralph Hotere’s mural and of course to grab a piece of Founders birthday cake!

The Founders Theatre 50th Birthday Open Day:
Saturday 8 December, 10am – 2pm
Founders Theatre, 221 Tristram Street, Hamilton

Over the span of five decades, the theatre has acted as a central meeting space and provided entertainment to several generations of patrons.

Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker sees Founders Theatre’s 50th birthday as a very special event for Hamilton.

“Founders had been at the heart of the city's and the Waikato's arts and entertainment events throughout its history, with some of the biggest names in the world entertaining us.

One of the unique things about it is the strong community focus right back to the beginning when the public donated £25,000 towards the development of the theatre - greater than any previous appeals in Hamilton. This celebration is also the start of other celebrations and commemorations that will be happening in 2014 and 2015, with the city's 150th, the University's 50th and the 100th commemoration of World War One."

Event Services Manager Richard Sutherland, who has worked at Founders Theatre for more than 25 years, is excited about the 50th milestone.

“Founders Theatre is a vital part of not only Hamilton’s performing arts sector but of Hamilton as a whole. The huge range of events and activity hosted by the venue over the years has provided experiences and memories for a lot of people.”

Share your stories
Hamilton City Council is asking the community to share their stories and memories of Founders Theatre.

Share your story (or a favourite photo) and be in to win a double pass to see the NZ Symphony Orchestra at Founders Theatre in 2013.

To share:
• Email us at
• Facebook us at
• Deliver your story to the Founders Theatre reception
• Tell us in person at the Open Day!

Background information
The theatre was designed by eminent local firm White, De Lisle and Jenkins and the building officially opened on 17 November 1962. The initial cost of the building was 259, 012 pounds.

Over the past 50 years, the theatre has housed countless national and international stars including Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Malvina Major, Richard O'Brien (Rocky Horror Show and Riff Raff), Joe Cocker, Split Enz, Glen Campbell, Billy Connolly and The New Seekers.


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