Re­gional the­atre project track­ing well

Hamilton Metro News - - News -

Cre­at­ing a con­cept de­sign and find­ing the best lo­ca­tion for the new Waikato Re­gional The­atre is track­ing ex­tremely well, says Mo­men­tum Waikato.

The com­mu­nity foun­da­tion has joined Hamil­ton City Coun­cil to fund the work to rec­om­mend the best op­tions to re­place the ag­ing Founders The­atre, closed last year due to safety con­cerns.

Mo­men­tum Waikato was ap­proached last year by peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions in­ter­ested in have the foun­da­tion con­trib­ute to a new the­atre. It will con­vene $25 mil­lion of donor funds, con­tin­gent on Hamil­ton City Coun­cil un­der­writ­ing $30 mil­lion to­wards the build. City Coun­cil will be seek­ing fund­ing from cen­tral, re­gional and other Waikato lo­cal coun­cils to con­trib­ute to­wards their por­tion of fund­ing.

Mo­men­tum Waikato chair­man Leonard Gard­ner says a true pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship has been cre­ated to de­liver a great com­mu­nity out­come.

Mo­men­tum Waikato and the Coun­cil have each se­cured $100,000 and ap­pointed the in­de­pen­dent Waikato Re­gional The­atre Gov­er­nance Panel to man­age a ro­bust process to de­ter­mine op­ti­mum the­atre con­fig­u­ra­tion, de­sign, lo­ca­tion and the range of ex­pected com­mu­nity ben­e­fits. It en­gaged in­ter­na­tional the­atre de­sign con­sul­tancy Char­coal­blue to carry out the work.

Char­coal­blue has talked with stake­hold­ers and user groups through­out the re­gion and in­ves­ti­gated lo­ca­tions around the city owned by the Coun­cil or by pri­vate landown­ers to rec­om­mend con­cept and lo­ca­tion to go to pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion in Au­gust.

Mr Gard­ner says Char­coal­blue is also work­ing with ar­chi­tects, en­gi­neers and arts ad­vis­ers to cre­ate the rec­om­men­da­tion for the mas­ter plan, cost es­ti­mate and build-plan for a new the­atre. “This is an in­cred­i­bly ro­bust process and Char­coal­blue has been very thor­ough in their dis­cus­sions and in­ves­ti­ga­tions to this point, in­clud­ing analysing many years of use of Founders’ The­atre and dis­cussing ways to en­cour­age par­tic­i­pa­tion in the arts through to com­par­a­tive analy­ses of the­atres and venues in other New Zealand cities.”

The Waikato Re­gional The­atre needs to have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the lives of all, com­ple­ment and en­hance the ur­ban fab­ric of Hamil­ton and also be adapt­able for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, he says.

“Char­coal­blue’s work has made some key con­clu­sions in­clud­ing that the the­atre must bridge an au­di­ence gap cur­rently cre­ated be­tween Claude­lands, Me­teor The­atre and Clarence St The­atre. ‘The wider pic­ture is for the the­atre to have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the wider cre­ative sec­tor in the Waikato. We are look­ing for this to be achieved in two ways: by firstly choos­ing a lo­ca­tion that can help de­velop a cre­ative precinct, and sec­ondly through ed­u­ca­tion— seek­ing to en­gage with the sec­ondary schools through­out the Waikato to in­spire our young peo­ple into the cre­ative in­dus­tries,” he says.

“This is a gen­er­a­tional op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate a sig­nif­i­cant com­mu­nity as­set for our re­gion, and, for the sake of the fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, we need to make sure we do it well,” Mr Gard­ner says.

“The Waikato Re­gional The­atre is a hugely im­por­tant project for a grow­ing re­gion. We’ve been heart­ened by the progress made so far, and by the sup­port al­ready be­ing re­ceived from the pub­lic, donors and lo­cal coun­cils.

“Mo­men­tum Waikato will be mak­ing it easy to be gen­er­ous and sup­port the the­atre project.”

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