Construction Underway For Auckland's New Waterfront Theatre Complex

We are thrilled to announce construction of the project has commenced and moving forward, the state-of-the-art theatre complex will be known as the ASB Waterfront Theatre.

The 650 seat, international standard theatre is expected to take 20 months to complete, meaning the doors will be open to the public by mid 2016. To mark the start of construction ASB has today announced its naming rights sponsorship of the theatre.

"ASB has a strong history of supporting the arts and we're proud to be the naming-rights sponsor of the new ASB Waterfront Theatre," says ASB Chief Executive Barbara Chapman.

"This purpose built facility will connect with and share auditorium space with ASB's North Wharf headquarters, providing a fantastic new home for Auckland Theatre Company. At the same time, Auckland's newest and most advanced theatre facility will cement Wynyard Quarter's development into a world class entertainment hub."

The ASB Waterfront Theatre will be a game changer for Auckland. It will allow Auckland Theatre Company to showcase the best performing arts projects the city and New Zealand have to offer and facilitate guest seasons with sister companies across the Tasman. Furthermore, it will complement the many other exciting new developments emerging in the Wynyard Quarter and fill a much needed gap for the performing arts in the central city.

Len Brown, Mayor of Auckland, said, "the ASB Waterfront Theatre will strengthen Auckland's creative economy, further promote Auckland's waterfront as a visitor destination, showcase our thriving performing arts offerings and provide a space for us to welcome the very best international artists to the city."

"Auckland Council's support kick-started the fundraising campaign for the project three years ago. Since then, Auckland Theatre Company was able to raise the extra funds required to provide this fantastic venue to the Auckland community and our visitors. The ASB Waterfront Theatre will be a model of success for projects that are both public and privately funded."

Other major contributors to the project include ASB Community Trust, AUT University, Creative New Zealand, New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, The Lion Foundation and Infinity Foundation.

Auckland Theatre Company will be the anchor tenants of the theatre. Waterfront Theatre Limited, a limited liability company, will develop, own and maintain the building.

Hawkins Construction has been appointed as the contractor for the build. Construction of the theatre is predicted to take around 20 months to complete, meaning the doors will be open to the public by mid-2016.

Auckland Theatre Company Artistic Director, Colin McColl said, "We are absolutely delighted that this project is now a reality rather than a distant dream. We thank each and every one of our generous supporters and look forward to welcoming you all to the ASB Waterfront Theatre in 2016."

NZ Lottery's Significant Project Fund commits $1.5 million to the Waterfront Theatre Project

Auckland Theatre Company has received another huge boost to its fundraising effort for the Waterfront Theatre Project. We are thrilled to announce the New Zealand Lottery's Significant Projects Fund has confirmed a contribution of $1.5 million dollars.

The Significant Projects funding committee said they were happy to contribute to the project as they believe it will have direct community benefits in the areas of arts, culture and heritage, and visitor services and tourism.

This additional funding takes the total raised to $34.7 million meaning we are tantalisingly close to reaching the final goal!

Now that the overall fundraising target is in sight, we have entered into the Request for Proposal (RFP) process with four different contractors.

Once a successful contractor has been chosen and we have met all of the conditions relating to Auckland Council's capital grant we will be in a position to start building. We expect this will be in the middle of the year, although demolition of the Moana Pacific Fisheries could commence sooner. 

With the theatre expected to take 21 months to build, including commissioning, the theatre could be open to the public by early 2016 so stay tuned!

Creative New Zealand commits $4.5 million to Auckland Waterfront Theatre Project

Great News! Have a look at the latest media release from CNZ...

Creative New Zealand will invest a total of $4.5 million to help realise the new Waterfront Theatre Project in central Auckland's Wynyard Quarter.

The new, international-standard centre for performing arts will be integrated with the new ASB head office complex and become the permanent home of Auckland Theatre Company (ATC). The centre will include a 600-seat theatre and access to a 200-seat auditorium within the ASB development.

"This is an exceptional opportunity to invest in a capital project that will fill a large gap in Auckland's arts infrastructure and will have many benefits for the wider Auckland community as a venue for performance," says Arts Council Chairman Dr Dick Grant.

"It is unusual for Creative New Zealand to invest in a capital project but we are pleased to be joining with key institutions to help make this important project happen," he said.

Creative New Zealand made an initial investment of $3 million in 2012 and a further $1.5 million investment has been made possible by income from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board.
The funds will not be released until ATC has secured all the funding it needs for the project and the start is confirmed.

Since Creative New Zealand's original grant was made ATC has secured significant additional funding towards the $35.1 million project, including a $5 million partnership with AUT University.

Other major contributors to the project include Auckland Council, ASB Community Trust and the Lion Foundation, as well as private donors and benefactors. Creative New Zealand's commitment brings the total pledged to approximately $33 million.

"ATC has made impressive progress in advancing the project and securing funding. It has demonstrated its considerable ability and leadership in the way it has managed the funding commitments and partnerships needed," Dr Grant said.

Creative New Zealand's support is a tremendous boost to the project said ATC Chair, Gordon Moller. "With the final fundraising target in sight, and thanks to the many people who have got behind the project, we should be in a position to start construction in 2014."

AUT University contributes $5million to the Waterfront Theatre Project

We are delighted to announce that AUT University are contributing $5million to the Waterfront Theatre Project. This is a game changer for us. The project will definitely go ahead.

It's a game changer for young people. This investment shows AUT and ATC live in the modern world, and that we share an understanding of the role that arts and creativity play in the development of our young people.

It's a game changer for the performing arts. This partnership will significantly enhance the capability of the creative sector in city. It creates new pathways for young people to connect with the performing arts, it presents opportunities for research and development that have not existed before, and it will explode wide open the concept of how young people are trained for careers either in the performing arts or in other areas.

It's a game changer for the live performance industry. In the same way as museums and galleries have transformed their patron experience, this investment means ATC can realise its vision of reinventing the theatregoing experience in Auckland for the 21st century. Audiences can expect to have a theatregoing experience that is commensurate with that they would expect to have in any international cosmopolitan city.

As AUT's Vice Chancellor, Derek McCormack said today, "throughout history great cities have established themselves by being centres of learning and culture. AUT and ATC, as anchor institutions in the cultural life of the region, are convinced of the potential this partnership has to contribute to Auckland's standing as an international city."

New Zealand Lottery Grants Board Funding

We have just received some more excellent news on the funding front. We're delighted to announce that the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board Community Facilities Committee has granted $750,000 towards the waterfront theatre project. This fantastic contribution means that we have now raised a total of $26.2 million. The discussions with other major funders are ongoing and we will make an announcement about those as soon as we can.

Further Major Funding Announced

We are very pleased to announce that Creative New Zealand has joined the fundraising campaign for the new waterfront theatre, bringing the total raised for the project so far to $25 million in just two years, which is an amazing achievement in today's economic climate. We are also having very encouraging discussions with further potential major funding partners and hope to be able to make an announcement about those within the next couple of months. We look forward to keeping you informed!

Creative New Zealand pledges support for Auckland waterfront theatre

Creative New Zealand is joining other investors to realise a new centre for the performing arts in central Auckland by agreeing to invest $3 million over two years in The Waterfront Theatre Project.

The project centres on a 600-seat theatre development in the Wynyard Quarter, Auckland's business and entertainment district. The venue will be adjacent to and integrate with the new ASB head office complex, owned and developed by Kiwi Income Property Trust, and become the permanent home of Auckland Theatre Company (ATC).

An exceptional opportunity

"It is very unusual for Creative New Zealand to invest in a capital project but we see this as an exceptional opportunity to help fill a large gap in Auckland's arts infrastructure," says Arts Council Chair Alastair Carruthers.

"It would be considerably more expensive to create a similar integrated venue without the sizeable support being provided by ASB, Auckland Council, ASB Community Trust and other partners. Hopefully our commitment will encourage others to step forward too."

A demonstrated need 

A mid-sized venue for performing arts companies has been identified by Auckland Council as the single highest priority for the performing arts in Auckland. The Waterfront Theatre Project includes a 600-seat theatre, designed specifically for drama and dance, access to a 200-seat auditorium within the ASB head office development, a shared courtyard and other facilities.

"There has been significant growth in the number and quality of theatre and dance organisations in Auckland but many companies, particularly in dance, are hampered by lack of mid-sized venues in which to perform," Mr Carruthers said.

The project would allow the ATC to reach larger audiences and have more control over programming. It would also allow a wider range of local and touring performing arts events to be seen by Auckland audiences than is currently possible. 

One off grant

Creative New Zealand's investment is made possible by one-off New Zealand Lottery Grants Board income.

Funds will be released once ATC has secured the remaining investment required and the start of the project is confirmed. "We appreciate there is a way to go to reach the full amount but we are confident the ATC will achieve its fundraising goal," says Mr Carruthers.

Gordon Moller, Chair of Auckland Theatre Company says, "Creative New Zealand's support is a tremendous boost to our fundraising campaign for this nationally significant project."

"We have secured over 70% of the funds needed for the new theatre in less than two years, which shows just how excited people are about the idea of a theatre on Auckland's waterfront, recognising the important role that arts and culture can play in the waterfront development."

The investment will be administered by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage which has experience of investing in capital projects through its Regional Museums Policy for Capital Construction Projects.

Major investors are the Auckland Council, ASB Community Trust, The Lion Foundation, ATC/Theatre Foundation and founding benefactors and patrons.

Auckland Theatre Company celebrates Wynyard Quarter's first birthday

In the space of only a few short months, the Wynyard Quarter has been transformed into an area Aucklanders are proud of and a destination they love to visit.

The Quarter has provided Aucklanders with a new destination to spend their Friday and Saturday nights, which is helping to keep the economy going since the Rugby World Cup.

"There was a noticeable difference (since the end of the Rugby World Cup)," said Shane Lea, Manager of Marvel Grill.  "However if there's an event on there are generally people around and they're coming in (to the restaurant) rather than just walking past. The quarter is becoming a destination and if there's something happening - there are people."

If Auckland Theatre Company's proposed theatre proceeds as planned, Aucklanders will have an additional reason to head down to the waterfront and the boost this will bring to the after five economy in the area is something the local hospitality businesses are very happy about.

Alongside 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 $3.72million per annum.

"Auckland Theatre Company is really excited about the prospect of being a part of the Wynyard Quarter and being able to contribute to the cultural and social experiences that are being cultivated there", says General Manager, Lester McGrath.

Auckland Theatre Company believes that, in the words of Auckland 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. What a great occasion to celebrate - happy birthday Wynyard Quarter!

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 public-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.

ASB Community Trust Contributes $5 Million

Auckland Theatre Company is delighted to announce ASB Community Trust will contribute $5m to the new theatre proposed for the Wynyard Quarter.

The contribution takes the total pledged to the new theatre $21.7m. The total amount needed to build the new 600 seat venue is $35.1m.

"We are thrilled to have ASB Community Trust's support for this visionary project, which will provide Auckland residents and visitors with a world class theatre going experience for generations to come," says Auckland Theatre Company General Manager, Lester McGrath.

In announcing the $5m contribution from ASB Community Trust, Chair Ken Whitney said the Trust was inspired by what has been achieved by working in partnership with other funders.

"The Trust is both proud and delighted to be able to make a substantial contribution to what will be a world class theatre for Auckland," he said.

"Large scale projects such as this inevitably require a number of funding partners to work together collaboratively to realise a shared vision.  In a relatively short time this approach has endowed our city with a number of iconic buildings such as the magnificently refurbished art gallery, Q Theatre, the Eden Park stadium redevelopment, the extensions to the War Memorial Museum, MOTAT and the Auckland Zoo, to name a few.  The ASBCT has made a significant contribution to each of these projects and we are excited to be an early key funder for the ATC's stunning new theatre here in the Wynyard Quarter.

 "This is about building infrastructure," Mr Whitney said. "The building itself is going to be a huge asset for our city, but what's more important is the potential it offers to develop the region's cultural resources.

"ASB Community Trust has been a long-term supporter of ATC. We've also put a lot of resource into our emerging artists programme, in partnership with the Auckland Theatre Company. This cutting-edge facility is going to give those young artists something to aspire to."

The new theatre will be located on the corner of Halsey St and Jellicoe St. alongside the new office building being built by Kiwi Income Property Trust which will house ASB Bank's head office.

Designed by Moller Architects in association with Bligh Voller Nield, the new theatre will add a significant cultural dimension to Auckland's waterfront.

"Not only will stimulate the 'after 5pm' economy in the Wynyard Quarter, generating additional spending of $8.59m per annum in the Quarter, it will fill a major gap in Auckland's current theatre provision," says ATC's Lester McGrath.

The new theatre will share a public lane way, court yard and 200 studio theatre with ASB Bank, which is a cornerstone partner of the project.

Auckland Theatre Company will be the anchor tenant of the new theatre, using the space for 30 weeks a year, with other significant New Zealand and international performing arts companies able to use it for the remainder of the year.

ASB Community Trust join the new theatre's other major funder The Lion Foundation who have contributed $1m to the project.

Detailed design for the new theatre is 90% complete. Construction is likely to start in early 2013 with the theatre opening in mid 2014.

Update on Progress

Pledges worth $21.7 million have been made to the project, of the $35 million needed to build the theatre. ASB has also pledged a further $6 million towards shared building costs. Applications have also been submitted to a number of major trusts and foundations, including the NZ Lottery Grants Board. Sponsorship for the project is also being sought from businesses (both large and small).

The Coming of Age public campaign is running alongside the corporate campaign and grant applications. If you are interested in making a donation, please click here. If you would like to become part of the theatre's Founders' Club by making a significant capital contribution, please contact Linden Tierney on 09 309 0390 ext. 272.

The new waterfront theatre needs the public's continued support and advocacy for the project. Please visit our Get Involved page for information on how you can voice your support.

When Will it Happen?

Work on the new waterfront theatre is happening right now! Auckland Theatre Company is working to secure the funding needed in order to make this project a reality.

The majority of the funding needs to be pledged by November in order to secure Auckland Council's $10 million commitment, which is vital to the success of the project. Donate now to help us meet our fundraising goals!