But will there be Mermaids? [by James Wenley]
In brilliant theatre news, Auckland has taken a giant step forward in becoming the world class live-able city that we’ve been hearing so much about, with the Auckland Council reaffirming their support for Auckland Theatre Company’s new Waterfront theatre, despite a last dash sinking attempt by a minority of councillors.
It’s been a nervous last few days for Auckland Theatre Company as they awaited the decision from council. There’s still more for ATC to fund-raise, and the Council’s money is conditional on that, but the commitment in the long term plan gives ATC and its backers certainty.
Congratulations to ATC – I can’t wait until I can go to a ATC show at Wynyard Quarter. Auckland venue watchers will know we still have the old Mercury up for sale, and the scandalous state of the Saint James. But for ATC this is a huge victory for forward thinking – they’ve long argued the benefits of their own venue (which will also be used by our national Opera and Ballet companies) and by partnering with ASB Bank, its exactly the sort of public-private partnership that is so in vogue at the moment.
Here is the hot off the press media release:
AUCKLAND COUNCIL RENEWS SUPPORT FOR VISIONARY WATERFRONT THEATRE PROJECT
Auckland Council has confirmed its support of the 600-seat waterfront theatre development by maintaining its budget allocation of $10 million in the Long Term Plan. This follows a rigorous review of funding priorities by councillors, who are committed to achieving positive change for Auckland in a fiscally responsible and prudent manner.
With Auckland Council’s support $21.7 million has been pledged of the $35 million fundraising target. Auckland Theatre Company is delighted with the outcome and is actively pursuing other funding avenues to fill the gap. The company’s next report back on progress to Auckland Council is in September.
The project is a private-public collaboration, which integrates with the ASB head office development in Wynyard Quarter and fills a serious gap in Auckland’s performing arts infrastructure.
In addition to providing significant cultural and community benefits, the waterfront theatre development will generate an estimated additional spend of $8.59 million per annum in the Wynyard Quarter, with an impact on direct waterfront GDP of $3.72 per annum.
“We thank our ever increasing group of supporters for advocating so strongly in support of the project in recent weeks,” says Auckland Theatre Company General Manager, Lester McGrath.
“Auckland Council has had to make careful and considered decisions. We thank Mayor Len Brown and fellow Councillors for their support and due consideration for the funding and rationale Auckland Theatre Company has presented in support of the theatre.”
“The waterfront theatre represents value for money for rate-payers and will contribute significantly towards the development of Auckland’s waterfront and vision for Auckland to be one of the world’s most liveable cities.”
Auckland Theatre Company believes that, in the words of Councillor Richard Northey, “the waterfront theatre will be the jewel in the crown of the Wynyard Quarter development,” and a destination all Aucklanders will be proud of.
More information at Waterfront Theatre Project.