First gig for Town Hall booked

The Press - - News - Jonathan Guild­ford jonathan.guild­ford@stuff.co.nz

Christchurch band Shapeshifter is sched­uled to be the first act to grace the stage at the re­open­ing of Christchurch’s Town Hall.

The highly an­tic­i­pated re­open­ing week­end, hosted by the Christchurch Sym­phony Or­ches­tra (CSO) and city coun­cil-owned events com­pany Vbase, is set for March 1, 2019.

The con­cert will be the first time the Kiwi drum and bass act have per­formed at the city’s town hall since 2007.

A Shapeshifter spokesman said the band’s 2007 show with the CSO at the town hall was one of its most mem­o­rable per­for­mances.

‘‘We are for­tu­nate to have played some epic gigs all over the world dur­ing our ca­reer. The show with the CSO at the Town Hall in our home­town of Christchurch a decade ago re­mains one of the most mem­o­rable of all,’’ he said.

‘‘Many of our fans men­tion it as one of their favourite nights out and so it is with great plea­sure that we are re­turn­ing, with the CSO, to open the new Christchurch Town Hall.’’

Vbase act­ing gen­eral man­ager Chris Wal­lace said he was ex­cited about host­ing events in the town hall again.

‘‘We are see­ing con­sid­er­able in­ter­est in book­ings from both pre­vi­ous and former clients of the venue,’’ he said.

CSO chief ex­ec­u­tive Gretchen La Roche said she was proud to be a part of the cel­e­bra­tions around the re­open­ing of the Town Hall.

‘‘We had such a great time per­form­ing with them [Shapeshifter] in 2007 and knew straight away that they were the band we most wanted to per­form with on this spe­cial oc­ca­sion.’’

Shapeshifter’s open­ing per­for­mance would be fol­lowed up with a con­cert from ac­claimed pi­anists Michael Hous­ton, Tony Chen Lin and the Wool­ston Brass band.

‘‘We re­ally wanted to of­fer two dif­fer­ent con­certs that each cel­e­brated Christchurch artists, the fan­tas­tic acous­tic of the Christchurch Town Hall and the ver­sa­til­ity of a sym­phony or­ches­tra.’’

La Roche said she was look­ing for­ward to per­form­ing in a pur­pose built con­cert hall once again.

‘‘Venues like this mean that you can hear an or­ches­tra at its very best, in all its colour­ful glory.’’

The Town Hall restora­tion was orig­i­nally ex­pected to be fin­ished in mid-2018 and cost $127.5 mil­lion, three years af­ter the coun­cil de­cided to fix it. The work will now be fin­ished in March and cost a to­tal of $152.2m.

Coun­cil ma­jor cap­i­tal de­liv­ery man­ager Al­is­tair Pear­son ear­lier told The Press the bud­get rose $24.7m be­cause more fea­tures were added as the project de­vel­oped.

The im­prove­ments in­clude new back­stage fa­cil­i­ties, a bet­ter stage with ar­eas that can be raised and low­ered, new ser­vices, re­tractable seats, a fly tower, and elec­tronic acous­tics in the new James Hay Theatre.

The main au­di­to­rium, the James Hay Theatre, the foyer and the former Limes room are ex­pected to be com­pleted and handed over to Vbase in De­cem­ber.

The CSO’s new of­fice and re­hearsal space, be­ing built on a part of the Town Hall for­merly oc­cu­pied by the Cam­bridge Room, will be com­pleted in March.

Tick­ets for Shapeshifter’s March 1 show are avail­able on the CSO’s web­site.

‘‘We are see­ing con­sid­er­able in­ter­est in book­ings from both pre­vi­ous and former clients of the venue.’’

Chris Wal­lace, Vbase act­ing gen­eral man­ager

STUFF

The re­build of the Christchurch Town Hall is well un­der way.

Shapeshifter is sched­uled to be the first act at the re­open­ing of Christchurch’s Town Hall.

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