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Royal New Zealand Ballet to get temporary home in central Wellington

July 6, 2018

The Wellington City Council has granted resource consent for a new temporary home and rehearsal studio for the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

The $2.9 million facility, to be located in the Michael Fowler Centre car park, will house the ballet company while its earthquake-prone home at the St James Theatre on Courtenay Place undergoes a $13 million upgrade.

While this takes place, the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) requires a large dance studio to accommodate rehearsals for the full company of dancers, a smaller dance studio, locker rooms, offices, and space for physiotherapy, as well as an area for a wardrobe and costume department.

The decision to opt for a temporary, mobile dance studio was taken because it could be reused at the site, moved elsewhere, or sold once the RNZB moves back into the St James Theatre.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said he was also keen to keep the ballet company in the city centre and that Wellington remained its permanent home.

Building consent has been lodged and was expected to be granted soon.

The purpose-built dance studio will have large windows, on the northern face, adjacent to an open public space that will allow passers by to watch the dancers rehearsing. Large graphics will also be displayed on the exterior elevations to create visual interest and art work will create a visual link to the pohutukawa on the site.

Meanwhile, steel fabrication work has started off site and construction on site will start in the coming weeks after final consent is granted.

The purpose-built dance studio will have large windows, on the northern face, adjacent to an open public space that will allow passers by to watch the dancers rehearsing.

The upgrade of the St James Theatre is set for completion in September 2019.

The construction of the rehearsal space will see the temporary loss of 93 car parking spaces. 

Image: Artist's impression of the new RNZB rehearsal space.

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