August 13, 2010


A funding proposal for Auckland Theatre Company’s proposed 600-seat main bill theatre in the Wynyard Quarter has been considered favourably by Auckland City’s Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee this week. 

Council officers had earlier recommended the committee endorse the project and call on the company to further develop the business case for the theatre. The committee approved the recommendation unanimously.

“A permanent, quality space of this size for professional theatre is a much-needed addition to Auckland city’s performing arts landscape,” said chairman of the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee, Councillor Greg Moyle.

“I believe the community and the council should continue to support this initiative,” said Cr Moyle.

Auckland Theatre Company chairman, Kit Toogood, said that the Company was greatly encouraged by the resolution.  “Even though it is likely a final decision about Auckland City’s contribution to the project will have to await the establishment of Auckland Council, gaining the support of the present Council and its officers is a significant step towards filling a serious gap in the provision of performance venues for the Auckland region.”

The proposed theatre would be constructed concurrently with the adjoining ASB Bank head office building on the corner of Jellicoe and Halsey Streets in 2011-13. The two buildings would share a common street level atrium and foyer.

The theatre would become Auckland Theatre Company’s home venue as well as being available for use by other local and national theatre and dance companies.

As well as filling the gap for a mid sized drama theatre in Auckland, the new theatre would help to establish the Wynyard Quarter’s credentials as a leisure destination, attracting 130,000 visitors to the Quarter annually.

Currently Auckland Theatre Company hires a range of theatres from 440-seat Maidment Theatre at Auckland University to the 700-seat SKYCITY Theatre. With SKYCITY Theatre not taking bookings Auckland Theatre Company has been left without a venue for its larger comedies and musicals.

Auckland Theatre Company has been actively reviewing business cases for a range of theatres for the last six years in response to the uncertainty on the venue front and to find a permanent home that would secure the long term future of the company.

Full text of the Auckland City Council resolution passed by the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee

A.        The Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee commend the Auckland Theatre Company for its initiative and efforts to develop a theatre proposal in conjunction with the ASB Bank development.
B.        The Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee endorse in principle Auckland Theatre Company’s concept for a new theatre complex in Wynyard Quarter on the basis that it presents a positive opportunity to address an identified need for a 500-600 seat drama theatre in the city which will add to the vibrancy of the Wynyard Quarter, noting this endorsement is provided on the understanding that further investigations demonstrate the project is feasible and viable.
C.        That the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee notes that there is no funding in the current Long term Council Community Plan to support Auckland Theatre Company’s theatre proposal and therefore any decision to commit funds to the project is to be referred to the new Auckland Council for consideration post 1 November 2010.
D.        That the Arts, Culture and Recreation recommends to Auckland Theatre Company that it prepares and submits a detailed business case on the theatre proposal to the new Auckland Council as soon as practicable after 1 November 2010, which includes more developed design plans and costings, fundraising details, timeframes and more information on the governance/ownership structure and operating model.
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