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BATS Theatre Celebrates 30th Birthday BATStavaganza

Wellington’s iconic BATS Theatre is serving up a smorgasbord of piping-hot, decadent and delicious live acts to celebrate turning thirty. Wellington audiences will experience an unmissable one-off variety show featuring performances and performers who have graced the BATS stage over the past 3 decades.

The venue has been a beloved part of the Wellington arts landscape for many years, but began life in its current iteration in April 1989 when drama school students Simon Elson and Simon Bennett reopened the theatre as a home for artists to try out new ideas. Three decades – and one major renovation later, the theatre is preparing a special programme of events across the year to salute the artists of its past, present and future.

“BATS has been a hot house for performance for thirty years which has made a huge impact on the arts here in Te Whanganui-a-Tara but also throughout New Zealand ” says General Manager Jonathon Hendry. “People like Robyn Malcolm, Taika Waititi, Rachel House, and The Naked Samoans all performed early work here and of course Flight of the Conchords’ first shows were often at BATS,” he says. “This year, we’re celebrating with a host of events both honouring our past and celebrating what lies ahead for performance in Aotearoa.”

These events include the one-night-only 30th Birthday BATStravaganza, which will take place down the road from BATS, at the Embassy Theatre. “We like to say that BATS is bigger than the building,” says 30th Anniversary project manager Cassandra Tse, “so we’re partnering with our neighbours at the Embassy Theatre to make sure our celebrations are inclusive as possible. BATS has always been a very intimate space, but you can fit a lot more people in the Embassy!”

BATStravaganza will feature performers who have been part of the rich history of BATS, including musicians, comedians and dancers. Some of the artists performing on the night include Jo Randerson, Jacob Rajan, Donna Brookbanks, Michael Galvin and Tim Balme, Gareth Farr, Footnote Dance, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer and Nikita Tu-Bryant.

The variety show is to be followed by a late-night party back at BATS’ home base at 1 Kent Terrace, where guests will be able to dance the night away to live music from local artists. More events celebrating thirty years of BATS will be announced throughout the year.

The 30th Birthday BATStravaganza kicks off on Saturday April 6th at The Embassy Theatre. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased through the BATS Theatre website at www.bats.co.nz.

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