Fifth birthday for Q Theatre
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.