Fifth birth­day for Q The­atre

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - HUGH COLLINS

Q The­atre has blown out its birth­day can­dles, cel­e­brat­ing five years in Auck­land.

First opened on Septem­ber 8, 2011, the multi-the­atre venue at 305 Queen St has be­come a sta­ple and cen­tral fea­ture of the arts com­mu­nity. With 577 per­for­mances last year Q saw 89,000 au­di­ence mem­bers through its doors - a 7500 thou­sand jump from the pre­vi­ous year.

It con­sists of three the­atres - the main Ran­gatira, the smaller and in­ti­mate Loft, and the un­der­ground workspace Vault.

Mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Candice de Vil­liers says plans for the not-for­profit com­pany were born as far back as 1996 when a water­front the­atre was shut down to make way for the Amer­ica’s Cup Vil­lage. ‘‘So when that hap­pened the in­de­pen­dent the­atre com­mu­nity looked at the venues around and re­alised there wasn’t a pur­pose­built space specif­i­cally for them,’’ she says.

It took more than a decade of lob­by­ing and fundrais­ing with a group from the arts com­mu­nity com­mit­ted to mak­ing it hap­pen for no mone­tary re­turn, De Vil­liers says.

‘‘It’s that un­re­lent­ing ded­i­ca­tion to mak­ing it hap­pen.’’

‘‘There were lots of mo­ments where things could go ei­ther way… there were re­ally im­por­tant coun­cil meet­ings where pretty much the en­tire the­atre com­mu­nity turned up to and said ‘no this re­ally, re­ally has to hap­pen’.’’ Like any busi­ness or new busi­ness ven­ture, the first five years were crit­i­cal, she says.

This year alone the the­atre has seen 63 dif­fer­ent arts com­pa­nies work within the spa­ces.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive James Wil­son says the the­atre is now at the heart of the Auck­land arts precinct and acts as a hub of creativ­ity and col­lab­o­ra­tion.

‘‘Our pur­pose is to keep that heart pump­ing in ev­ery­thing we do.

We en­thu­si­as­ti­cally sup­port artists to con­nect with au­di­ences, to cre­ate fan­tas­tic arts ex­pe­ri­ences in our city.’’

But with the Auck­land The­atre Com­pany open­ing a new venue on the water­front this month, Q will lose a large chunk of its pro­gram­ming, De Vil­liers says.

‘‘It’s a chal­lenge be­cause they [ATC] have been bring­ing these au­di­ences, so for us as we go into the next five years of Q it’s con­tin­u­ing, es­pe­cially in my role, to build on bring­ing those au­di­ences in.’’


Q The­atre mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Candice de Vil­liers.

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