Theatre forced to find a new home

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT - JARED NICOLL

The show must go on some­how for Porirua Lit­tle Theatre.

The theatre, which has been based at 4 Lyd­ney Place in the Porirua CBD since 2012, has been told by the Porirua City Coun­cil that it’s got to be out by Novem­ber.

The build­ing, which needs a new roof among other things, is go­ing to be oc­cu­pied by a com­mer­cial ten­ant.

It’s un­der­stood mem­bers have a meet­ing sched­uled with Porirua mayor Mike Tana on June 1 to dis­cuss op­tions.

Theatre stal­wart Amanda Stone said she had di­rected school hol­i­day pan­tomimes for the theatre for the past 15 years, which were at­tended by thou­sands of chil­dren and earned NZ Theatre Fed­er­a­tion awards.

‘‘This year will be the first year we will not be able to pro­duce a school hol­i­day show due to the coun­cil de­cid­ing we must va­cate the build­ing.

‘‘This is a very sad sit­u­a­tion as these shows are of­ten chil­dren’s first in­tro­duc­tion to theatre.’’

Coun­cil chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Tam­sin Evans said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was oc­cu­py­ing one of the coun­cil’s key CBD build­ings.

The coun­cil had charged a ’’pep­per­corn rent’’ of $9000 a year, com­pared to the pre­vi­ous ten­ant who paid about $150,000.

‘‘We’ve had com­mer­cial in­ter­est in oc­cu­py­ing it, so to be fair to ratepay­ers we need to look at re­ceiv­ing an in­come at mar­ket rates for the build­ing.’’

The build­ing needs the roof re­placed, which has put a stop to public per­for­mances, and the large old heat­ing and ven­ti­la­tion ducts have been re­moved.

A new sys­tem would not be in­stalled un­til a com­mer­cial op­er­a­tor took over the build­ing.

The other is­sue was the build­ing was not well served with toi­lets for public use.

This meant the build­ing no longer met the theatre’s re­quire­ments for per­for­mances.

‘‘What we have said is that they can carry on us­ing it un­til the end of Novem­ber to build and store stage sets and for re­hearsals, which they can do with­out the re­quire­ment of san­i­tary ser­vices for the public,’’ she said.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately we don’t have a sup­ply of build­ings that per­fectly suit the needs of groups in our com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly if their ac­tiv­i­ties re­quire ex­clu­sive use,’’ Evans said.

A res­cue plan has been hatched to try to save the theatre’s for­mer home in a de­funct United States Ma­rine hall in Ti­tahi Bay, which closed in 2012 and was once ear­marked for de­mo­li­tion.

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