May 1, 2018


Tuesday 1 May 2018 

The Fortune Theatre Trust announced that it is closing its theatre operation today after trustees agreed it could not continue to run under its current business model and premises.

Fortune Board of Trustees chair Haley van Leeuwen says the board had been through an exhaustive process of reviews and decided it had to close the theatre company because it was no longer financially viable. 

We are closing now because we have fiduciary responsibility to meet our obligations to the Fortune Theatre staff, suppliers and other partners” she said.”

Theatre employees were informed at 9am this morning that the theatre company would cease operations as of today and no further shows would be performed at the venue.   We would like to acknowledge our staff during this difficult time who have worked hard towards the goal of securing the future of the theatre.

“We have looked at many different avenues to avert closure, however theatres and their audiences have changed over the years and we must now take stock, with the goal of keeping the tradition of local professional theatre alive in Dunedin.  Whatever future development arises it will be in a new format that represents the future model of theatre in New Zealand. ” said Ms van Leeuwen.

The theatre has been fortunate to have many loyal patrons, sponsors and supporters throughout our 44 year history which meant that we could remain in operation for the time that we did.  I would like to acknowledge our stakeholders, the Dunedin City Council for its support of the Fortune and its Ara Toi Arts and Culture Strategy which promotes an excellent mix of arts and culture in Dunedin. Also, Creative New Zealand who are still committed to supporting a fresh approach for theatre in Dunedin, and the Otago Community Trust for being a long standing supporter of the theatre and for their ongoing support.  

Background notes:

The Fortune Theatre was created by a small group of passionate enthusiastic actors/ directors in 1974 and has been part of the arts and drama scene in Dunedin since then. It has put on 407 main stage productions throughout this time and sold over 750,000 tickets. 

The Fortune’s association with the former Trinity Methodist Church in Upper Stuart Street started in 1978 which it converted into a two auditoria venue.

In its lifetime more than 400 professional actors have appeared in Fortune Theatre  productions (many moving on to high profile roles in film, television and international stage productions), supported by 60 musicians and 90 long term backstage workers. One hundred Dunedin citizens have served on the Fortune’s trust board since its inception.

Please direct all enquiries to Haley van Leeuwen
Phone: 0275 182 454

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