Insight into new theatre
The Waikato region is on track for a transformational project — a Waikato Regional Theatre that will link a multi-functional performing space with the river and sit at the heart of a cultural precinct.
The design of the new Waikato Regional Theatre proposes an 1100-seat lyric theatre (opera house), shared public spaces and a public art gallery, to be located at the old Hamilton Hotel site on Victoria St.
It’s intended to replace Founders Theatre — closed for safety reasons in March 2016 — and provide an opportunity to use the best approaches in modern, multi-functional spaces.
The concept design links the proposed new theatre very strongly with the river and has a multi-purpose theatre, able to hold intimate, small-scale works with spoken words through to youth kapa haka performances and full orchestral and ballet performances.
It is planned to co-exist with a proposed separate, privately developed lifestyle art hotel, public art gallery and retail space, which will provide shared spaces for meetings, conferences and events.
The building is designed to be at the centre of an arts precinct, with other arts-related industry developing nearby, including restaurants and bars as well as art and craft galleries and other businesses. It aims to offer education opportunities to a new generation and will attract national and international productions to the city. International theatre consultancy firm Charcoalblue has a reputation for building and renewing theatres that revitalise cities and regions. It’s an award-winning firm with offices in the UK, USA and Australia and has worked on many leading international projects including the Young Vic Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Theatre and National Theatre, London.
The consultants have spent the past few months meeting with user groups and stakeholders to discover what is needed in the new theatre. Charcoalblue has created initial concept designs for the new theatre and is now undertaking further consultation with users for the next stage of design. It’s hoped the new theatre could be open by 2021.
An artist’s impression of what the new Waikato Regional Theatre could look like from the river. Full designs are still to be done.
An artist’s impression of what the interior spaces of the new Waikato Regional Theatre building could look like and how they would connect to the river.