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New Zealand Government provides $12 million for new theatre in Waikato

New Zealand Government provides $12 million for new theatre in Waikato
November 4, 2019

The New Zealand Government has announced that it will back plans for a new 1300-seat theatre in Hamilton, making a $12 million investment its Provincial Growth Fund.

The commitment towards the $74 million cost of the riverside performing arts centre takes the total raised to date by the Momentum Waikato Community Foundation to $69 million and allows construction preparations and the final fundraising push to get underway.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement during a visit to Hamilton last week, commenting “like many locals I have great memories of performances at the Founders Theatre. While it’s sad to have lost this venue, it’s fantastic to see a new plan developed.

“This is an exciting package for the region that will encourage tourism and ensure locals can enjoy the benefits of both home-grown and international cultural performances.

“The theatre will also be a base for Wintec’s performing arts degree, giving students on local training courses a great venue to learn in.

“With a shortage of visitor accommodation, the new hotel means people can stay longer in the Waikato to take in the Hamilton Gardens, Zoo, Waitomo Caves, Hobbiton, and Waiwhakareke National Heritage Park,” Jacinda Ardern said.

First proposed in 2017, construction of the theatre is expected to begin in early 2020 and take two years.

To be built on the former Hamilton Hotel site, the $73.9 million project will, when complete, offer a new 1300-seat theatre overlooking Waikato River featuring a large stage, orchestra pit, and public foyer.

Welcoming the funding commitment, Momentum Waikato Chair Leonard Gardner stated “our vision is for every kid in the Waikato to have the opportunity to ‘Share the Stage’ with the world’s best performers.

“The Waikato Regional Theatre will be an impressive state-of-the-art, world-class performance venue, the pride of Hamilton and the Waikato.

“The remarkable flexibility of its stage configurations, the crystal-clear acoustics and up-close sightlines of its auditorium will, however, just be the means to an end.

“What matters is the enchanting and enthralling experiences that will happen within and around the theatre.

“We will all be able to see fantastic international entertainment here on our doorstep, and our best performers will have the springboard they need to launch themselves out into the world."

Image shows the 2018 concept for the new theatre.

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1st November 2019 - New Zealand begins a national conversation about arts and creativity

8th August 2019 - Hamilton’s Claudelands completes preparations for Disney on Ice

4th October 2018 - Hamilton City Council purchases riverside properties for park expansion plan

27th May 2018 - Creative New Zealand survey shows that ‘art makes New Zealand a better place to live’

24th April 2018 - New concept designs for Waikato Regional Theatre include 200 more seats

5th February 2018 - Hamilton’s H3 renews Ticketek partnership

25th January 2018 - Momentum Waikato Community Foundation announces new Chief Executive

12th December 2017 - Hamilton City Council looks for new uses for the Founders Theatre

1st November 2017 - Hamilton event patrons urged to purchase tickets from official vendors

25th August 2017 - Feasibility report released into new Waikato Regional Theatre

17th September 2016 - 2016 EVANZ Conference to be held at Claudelands in Hamilton

7th July 2016 - Report confirms seismic issues with Hamilton’s Founders Theatre

1st April 2016 - Hamilton City Council to let the community decide the future of the Founders Theatre

3rd December 2014 - Double venue awards win is ‘great recognition’ for Claudelands and Waikato

2nd December 2014 - Arts and sport set out shared vision for Waikato

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