June 19, 2008


Only one in five Aucklanders believe Auckland already has sufficient venues to stage all its events and performances. 

Almost three-quarters believe cultural events are good for the economy and vibrancy of the city.

More than half said they went to the theatre in the past year.

A new survey out today confirms that the limited number of theatres in Auckland is not meeting the city’s demand for the performing arts.

Of the more than 680 (eds: 684) Aucklanders surveyed across the greater Auckland region, only one in five believe Auckland already has sufficient venues to stage all its events and performances.

At the same time, 82 percent of those surveyed believe it was important that Auckland has venues to stage events that would otherwise not come to Auckland.

More than half of Aucklanders [eds: 53 per cent] went to the theatre in the past year, according to the survey.

The UMR Research online poll, which has a margin of error of 3.7%, was commissioned by Q Theatre, which has secured 70% of the required funding, or $14.3 million, for a new Queen St theatre. A bid for the remaining funding has been lodged with the Lotteries Commission.

Susanne Ritzenhoff, General Manager of Q Theatre, said the research confirmed what Q had identified in its feasibility study. "With the limited theatre offering in Auckland, potential theatre goers are not well served and more Aucklanders would attend the theatre if there were more options.

"Flexibly configured theatres, of the design and scale proposed by Q, are widely recognised as the source of much innovation in the arts and creative industries, yet the Maidment is the only theatre of this size in Auckland. 

"By comparison, Wellington has five theatres of this size and Brisbane has seven.  If Auckland wants to be a leader in the performing arts space then we need to extend our offering.

"More than half of those surveyed [eds: 53%] went to the theatre in the past year, yet 66% said they would attend an event they were interested in if it were held at the proposed Q Theatre. This suggests there is demand for theatre that is not being met."

Nearly half [eds: 46%] of respondents thought their local council was supportive of the performing arts in the Auckland region while less than one-third [eds: 31%] of respondents thought central government was supportive of the performing arts in the region.

The survey also asked Aucklanders a number of questions about the importance of the role performing arts plays within our society. Of those surveyed:

85% believe exposure to arts/cultural events is an important part of a child’s education

81% believe cultural events like these help develop Auckland’s cultural identity

74% believe cultural events are good for Auckland’s economy

73% believe it is important for Auckland to be seen as a region with a strong and vibrant arts scene

74% believe Q Theatre will enhance Auckland’s reputation for having high quality arts events and activities

70% believe young singers/actors/dancers and other performers need a venue like Q Theatre to encourage them to stay in Auckland.

"As someone involved in the performing arts, these results are very encouraging in terms of understanding the important role we are playing in New Zealand society," said Ms Ritzenhoff. "The results also reiterate the importance of getting new theatres including the purpose built mid-sized Q Theatre up and running in Auckland."

Q Theatre will provide a place where the country’s young talent can reach its creative potential as well as meeting the needs of Auckland theatre goers from across the region.

Q Theatre is scheduled for opening in 2010.    

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