AUT stump up to help Wyn­yard theatre plan

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.

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