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Purchase of Wellington Performing Arts Centre

For immediate release:

Whitireia Community Polytechnic Wellington Performing Arts Centre

Chief Executive Don Campbell announced the purchase of Wellington Performing Arts Centre (WPAC) today, with its existing programmes to be run in conjunction with Whitireia stage and screen acting programmes in the Wellington Performing Arts Centre building from early in 2009.

"We are delighted to let you know that from the beginning of the academic year 2009 a full range of stage and screen acting and dance courses will be offered by Whitireia in Wellington" Whitireia Deputy Chief Executive Arthur Graves says. "This builds on 21 years of development of the Wellington Performing Arts Centre by Jenny and Jim Stevenson. WPAC courses and Whitireia qualifications will now be taught in WPAC's 15,000 square foot premises at 36 Vivian Street, Wellington."

WPAC was established in 1987 in Newtown. It has grown to become one of the largest providers of community level performing arts education centres in New Zealand, offering certificate and diploma courses in performing arts, acting, dance and singing. It has been registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority since 1994 and is attended by 50 full time students and approximately 1000 community class students every week.

Whitireia Community Polytechnic currently offers certificates, diplomas and a Bachelor of Applied Arts in a range of performance subjects. Graves says the purchase "sits well with our strengths in acting, live sound, performance, dance and commercial music programmes and our strong relationship with schools and communities in the region."

Alan Palmer has been appointed by Whitireia to manage the new combined art centre as well as the existing Whitireia campus on Cuba Mall. Mr. Palmer trained at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He came to New Zealend in the early'80's and was appointed as director of Forum North in Whangarei where he established Northland Youth Theatre, New Zealand's first professionally based Youth Theatre Company. He went on to teach acting at Northtec where he became Programme Manager for the Arts. "The resources Whitireia brings to the arts centre is going to add a new dimension, says Palmer. "Whitireia benefits by bringing students into the heart of the theatre district, close to city amenities. We can make great use of dedicated studio space and all students in WPAC will be able to use Cuba Campus resources like computer suites. My aim is to build on the great legacy that Jenny and Jim leave to create WPAC as a centre of excellence for ALL Performing Arts in New Zealand"

Whitireia Community Polytechnic currently has five faculties including the Faculty of Arts and Communications. It is a government owned and funded tertiary institute of technology, known for its high student success rate and culturally diverse student body. It has grown since its establishment in 1986 on the shores of Porirua Harbour, to become an 11,000 student operation with campuses in Auckland, Wellington, Kapiti and Porirua.

In addition to this purchase of WPAC, the last four years has been a time of significant development for Whitireia. A capital programme has enhanced the main Porirua campus with an award winning library, industry trades centre, business and IT building, health and education centre and a new technology covered central atrium. Last year the old working mens' club on Cuba Mall was converted into contemporary central city campus, housing - the Whitireia journalism Wellington news office, amongst other courses.


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