Hos­pi­tal­ity ex­ten­sion for Re­gent

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

For years, Munchkins Con­fec­tionery oc­cu­pied num­ber 51 Broad­way. Al­though empty for some time now, the small retail space right next door to the Re­gent on Broad­way still smells choco­latey.

It’s thanks to this va­cancy that the shop’s much larger neigh­bour is about to get slightly big­ger.

Yes, it’s an ab­sorp­tion. Here is where a new hos­pi­tal­ity area in­clud­ing a theatre bar is be­ing de­vel­oped. The City Coun­cil, which owns the whole build­ing, has agreed to lease the for­mer con­fec­tion­ers to the Re­gent On Broad­way Trust so the foyer space can be up­graded and en­larged.

Re­gent on Broad­way man­ager Charles Forbes says when it opens, hope­fully in May in time for Massey grad­u­a­tion, theatre foyer con­ges­tion should be a thing of the past.

For some time he has been con­cerned about con­ges­tion in the re­cep­tion area dur­ing heav­ily pa­tro­n­ised per­for­mances and events.

‘‘When the theatre at­tracts a large au­di­ence, crowd­ing in the re­fresh­ment area can com­pro­mise the en­trances to the au­di­to­rium and ac­cess to the toi­lets.’’

The lower foyer is go­ing to be re­con­fig­ured so it flows into the for­mer con­fec­tionery with ac­cess where the theatre pa­trons’ niche is now.

‘‘It will be re­fur­bished as a hos­pi­tal­ity area where theatre-go­ers can sit, have a drink and chat prior to a show or dur­ing the in­ter­val. The space will add to the en­ter­tain­ment ex­pe­ri­ence. It will cut down con­ges­tion around the au­di­to­rium and en­able peo­ple to re­lax and so­cialise.’’

The de­sign and de´cor of the snug new bar will be in keep­ing with the style of the theatre’s grand foyer.

Charles also has eyes on the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­tend­ing hos­pi­tal­ity seat­ing and ta­bles out­side onto the paved area fronting Broad­way, sim­i­lar to the set-up at Auck­land’s Civic Theatre. He is al­ready look­ing to name the new hos­pi­tal­ity space, and is invit­ing sug­ges­tions from the pub­lic.

‘‘If you’ve got an idea for what it should be called, let us know.’’

Since re­open­ing in 1998, the 1393-seat theatre hit the one mil­lion pa­tron mark in 2006, with 1,877,874 peo­ple at­tend­ing as at the end of 2015.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/FAIRFAX NZ

Re­gent on Broad­way man­ager Charles Forbes out­lines plans for tak­ing over the retail space next door to the theatre’s main en­trance as a hos­pi­tal­ity venue.

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