Published 15 July 2008
The Auckland Theatre Company & Auckland City Council said yesterday they’d decided not to pursue the proposal to develop the Mid-City cinema complex after investigations into transforming the venue into a multi-use theatre centre highlighted a number of risks.
Theatre company chairman Kit Toogood QC said both the company & the council felt the concept was worthy of serious consideration, but it became clear such development wasn’t a viable option.
“This is a case of sensible decisionmaking. While the proposal was an exciting possibility, the more we have looked at it, the more apparent it’s become that the Mid-City site is too restricted and is not going to deliver 3 spaces. We felt this was too much of a compromise for the industry.
“Auckland Theatre Company remains committed to working with the council to develop a home for Auckland’s theatre & dance companies. A great deal of useful research has been done over the past couple of months and we are already considering other possible sites for a dynamic world-class performance facility that is highly attractive to Auckland audiences & visitors alike.”
Council arts, culture & recreation committee chairman Greg Moyle said a number of positive outcomes had resulted from the Mid-City work: “We have had great co-operation & input from the sector, as well as agreement on their needs & priorities. We have also put time into developing the specifications for the spaces that are priorities, which will be extremely helpful going forward.”
Cllr Moyle said it was widely acknowledged that Auckland was constrained in the provision of professional arts venues: “We know that doing nothing is not an answer. The council is looking to keep the momentum generated by the Mid-City proposal going. We are committed to, over time, meeting the needs of the performing arts community through the provision of space to accommodate the needs of the Q Theatre, the Auckland Theatre Company & the Edge. The focus will now shift to alternative sites and we will continue with the current venue study to help us determine what the next step is.”
The venue study includes developing a strategic action plan that will guide & prioritise future investment in performing arts venues. Councillors asked for this study in February to update venue needs before they make a final decision on the Q theatre proposal. The findings of the venue study are expected to be ready by August.
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Attribution: Council & theatre company release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.