2 Aug 2016
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Creative New Zealand strongly supports the intention to build new theatres in Hamilton and Tauranga but recommends further evaluation to ensure they are fit-for-purpose.
Submitting on Hamilton City Council’s Founders Theatre: What Should We Do? Statement of Proposal, Creative New Zealand said the locality of the new 1250-seat theatre would be a vital consideration. Further work would be needed to determine whether it would be appropriate to build a new theatre on the existing site.
“Serious consideration should be given to finding a new site that is better integrated into current retail, hospitality, and other culture activities in Hamilton City,” the submission said.
Information about patronage and revenue should be further explored so the council had the evidence it needed to demonstrate that a 1250-seat theatre in Hamilton would be sustainable.
The submission commended the council for working with Creative Waikato to elicit submissions from the arts sector. “Considering the multi-faceted interaction a theatre of this scale will have with a variety of stakeholders, a broad range of input is an absolute requirement.”
Since the submission, Hamilton City Council has agreed to explore an offer from the Momentum Foundation to design and build a new theatre. The foundation committed to raise $25 million toward a “new build” theatre on the basis that the council will contribute $30 million to a new facility.
The council has also agreed to commit $100,000 to creating a concept design, masterplan and business case for a new build theatre.
New theatre for Tauranga
Submitting on Tauranga City Council’s Proposed Amendment to the Long Term Plan 2015-2025 Consultation Document: Creating Tauranga’s Civic Heart, Creative New Zealand supported the council’s view that the existing Baycourt Theatre was too small given Tauranga’s population and projected growth.
“Conducting a feasibility study into a new performance venue, with a 1000+ seat capacity, will further support the need for a larger venue and will be in line with what other regional centres with non-historic theatres currently support,” the submission said.
While there appeared to be strong support for a quick start to the project, including bypassing a feasibility study, Creative New Zealand recommended the council take time to evaluate what was needed while being prepared to act promptly once the results were known.
“This project shouldn’t be rushed, but it should be undertaken at an assertive pace,” the submission said.
Arts Council’s Submission on Tauranga City Council’s Proposed Amendment to the Long Term Plan 2015-2025 Consultation Document: Creating Tauranga’s Civic Heart