Theatre is right on Q
THE STAGE is set for a new theatre to open on Queen St within three years.
Q Theatre supporters are celebrating raising the final money needed to build the $21 million flexi-form venue.
The New Zealand Lottery Board this month announced a $6m grant, topping off more than $14m pledged by the Auckland City Council and the ASB Community Trust.
Q Theatre general manager Suzanne Ritzenhoff says she’s thrilled to finally have construction in sight.
“It’s exciting to look at the plans again and see where things are going to go,” she says.
“I’m so looking forward to talking to the industry again and really making sure that this theatre really works well.”
An application for building consent will be submitted early next year, with work to start later in 2009. Construction is expected to take two years.
Ms Ritzenhoff says she’s confident the money raised will be enough to complete the project.
“Given the information we have at the moment we can build the theatre for that amount of money,” she says.
“There might be a little bit here or there, but basically we’ve got all the funds together.”
The complex includes a flexi-form venue for theatre and dance, seating between 350 and 460 people, and a 100-seat studio space.
Rehearsal space, a cafe and a bar will also be included in the 305 Queen St site, next to the town hall.
Actor Ian Hughes says the theatre will be a boost for emerging artists and companies, and a meeting place for the industry.
“It’s not just a room for hire, but a place with the infrastructure to support us,” he says.
“Our community needs those sort of environments.”
The project has survived a rocky 12 months that saw the council reconsider its contribution because of cost increases of almost $10m.
Other arts organisations also questioned whether the venue would best meet the needs of the sector.
But a study commissioned by the council confirmed a mid-size flexible theatre as the city’s most urgent need.
The council has now upped its contribution by $400,000 to $9.6m, to help cover changes needed at the town hall.
The ASB Community Trust has given $4.495m in grants between 2005 and 2007.
The remaining money comes from private donors and trusts.
The $6m grant announced on November 7 came from the Lottery Signifi Projects Fund.
Lottery Grants Board presiding member Rick Barker says the venue will benefit Auckland and the rest of New Zealand.
“Q Theatre will become a gateway venue for productions touring New Zealand,” he says.
Ready to go: Work on Q Theatre will start at 305 Queen St next year. General manager Suzanne Ritzenhoff celebrates outside the the site with actors and supporters, from left: Tainui Tukiwaho, Ian Hughes, James Jennings and Jatinder Singh.