Porirua dance schools go Southwards
Bronwen Taylor said Southwards Car Museum will remain her venue of choice for now.
The owner of Springhill Dance Academy in Pukerua Bay said a major new performing arts centre in Porirua would have to tick a lot of boxes in order for her to host productions there.
‘‘Things like the size of the dressing rooms, lighting, amount of seating, whether we would be the only ones to have access to it while we set up - that sort of stuff is absolutely crucial,’’ she said.
Last week, Porirua City Council voted 7-4 to not grant $200,000 towards Aotea College’s proposed multi-million dollar performing arts centre, to be built as part of the school’s $24m upgrade.
The council had agreed in 2015 to grant Aotea $1m towards a facility that would have community use, but the council has pulled away from any investment.
Taylor said Southwards, near Paraparaumu, was costlier than Aotea’s Te Manawa, but offered outstanding service.
‘‘We walk in to Southwards and they say ‘how would you like it set up?’
There’s nowhere in Porirua that can cater for us, and that’s a real shame.’’
John Linkhorn from Extreme Dance Performance Centre in Paremata said his team often use Southwards, but he was in favour of an upgraded Aotea College performing arts centre.
‘‘It’s amazing that this city does not have one, so if Aotea are prepared to be a hub, that’s awesome,’’ he said.
‘‘Something attached to Pataka would be fantastic but there is not much room to move in the city centre. Aotea is a feasible option and we’d love to spend our money in Porirua, if that community access remains.’’
Aotea principal Kate Gainsford said after the council meeting last week that the hope was still to build a $3.5m, 500-seat centre and ‘‘we still want this to be something the public can use’’.
Among the disadvantages to supporting a $200,000 grant listed in the council report to councillors last week, it was noted an upgraded Aotea facility could have the ‘‘ambience of a school auditorium, with basic equip- ment’’, would not likely be ‘‘iconic’’ or have a raised stage, the college would have priority access rights, the location was away from the CBD and Pataka, and any thought of a central city performing arts centre for Porirua ‘‘could be pushed out further into the future’’.
Te Manawa, Aotea College’s auditorium, as it is today.