AUT stump up to help Wynyard theatre plan
A $5 million investment in the Waterfront Theatre Project in Wynyard Quarter is a game changer, Waterfront Theatre Trust chairman Ross Green says.
AUT University will invest in the project in a new partnership with Auckland Theatre Company (ATC).
For their investment AUT will own 15 per cent of the company established to develop, own and maintain the new theatre.
The Waterfront Theatre Trust will own the other 85 per cent.
This latest fundraising push has taken the current level of investment to $31.3m of the $35m needed to complete the new state-ofthe-art, 600-seat complex.
The theatre will become the permanent home of ATC.
Mr Green says the investment has taken them to a new stage in the development of the project.
‘‘It certainly is a game changer. It means we are now above the $30m mark which is really exciting.’’
The figure includes $10m from Auckland Council, $5m from the ASB Community Trust and $3m from Creative New Zealand.
A further $3.5m has been pledged by a principal partner for naming rights and another $2.8m from founding benefactors and patrons.
The company has until June next year to raise the total amount.
If the target is not met the council’s funding commitment lapses.
‘‘We don’t give up that easily,’’ Mr Green says.
‘‘We will go all-out to close that funding gap.’’
The trust will look at corporate and private sources to raise the rest of the funds needed to reach its target.
But Mr Green hopes the trust is in a strong enough position to start construction as early as next year for the theatre to open in 2015.
They will report to Auckland Council next month.
AUT Vice Chancellor Derek McCormack says the new theatre will be a centre for cultural development.
‘‘The initiative is an investment in our community.’’
The ownership interest in the theatre will provide opportunities for a wide range of AUT students and staff, including performing arts.