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T H E A T R E 

R E D E V E L O P M E N T  

Update on Theatre -  SEPTEMBER 2020

It is with sadness that the committee has decided not to proceed with our planned new theatre in West Street. Significant funding grants from NZ Lottery Grants Board, Trusts, individuals, and organisations would be required to complete the project. Many of these organisations have been adversely impacted by lock-down trading restrictions. Pre lock-down a substantial grant was approved by The Eastern & Central Community Trust but given the circumstances, this will now be declined.

While we do have funds on hand and our own fund-raising event, the ‘Fernside Garden Weekend’, raised nearly $20,000 we regrettably do not have the resources to undertake the level of fund raising required to meet the funding shortfall and still continue to operate our normal activities.


After selling our earthquake prone building in 2018, we continued to operate without a ‘home-base.’ The committee feels this is crucial in bringing our members and supporters together. Until we solve this dilemma we will, in the interim period, use the St John Hall (along with other community organisations) to produce smaller ‘studio’ scale productions. We do have options to produce larger scale productions at other suitable venues. All our gear and equipment will remain in storage, including our costumes, which unfortunately means that our ‘costume hire’ service remains unavailable.


In the meantime, as we continue with our activities whilst we will continue to keep searching for a longer-term solution.

John Gilberthorpe - President.

Update on Theatre - 2019

We are currently fundraising towards building a new theatre as we have had to vacate our usual home due to the costs of earthquake strengthening.  We will be performing in 'pop up' spaces throughout South Wairarapa until our new home is completed.

Update on Theatre -  December 2018


Due to significant seismic issues (classed as earthquake prone) the building at 68 Main Street that has been our home for the last 15 years has been sold. After considerable research and a detailed feasibility study it was identified that it would be totally unaffordable for us to fund an upgrade of the theatre to make it fit for purpose and to strengthen.

As part of the feasibility we have identified our best option is to build a new theatre (and community space) on land owned by South Wairarapa District Council which can be leased for a pepper corn rent and on a long-term lease. This project has been progressed over the last 15 months with a detailed concept plan and drawings now completed ready for a Resource Consent application to be lodged.

While the theatre has a significant amount of funds on hand for the project, we will require considerable fund-raising efforts by members and the community. The theatre will be seeking grants from major funders plus we will be undertaking a range of our own fund-raising efforts. All future productions will be identified as fund-raising events for the new theatre.

We are indebted for the support of South Wairarapa District Council who have shown a strong commitment to the project. In addition to making the land available the Council has agreed to develop the car parking for theatre patrons on a site adjacent to the theatre. We have generously been supported by the team from Perception Planning and Riggs Zschokke Ltd who have been assisting with the drawings and design work for the building. Trust House Foundation were very generous in supporting our feasibility study work.

The site we plan to build on is located adjacent to historic Railway Goods Shed that is owned by Rail Heritage New Zealand. The whole site is owned by SWDC. We have worked closely with Rail Heritage to minimise any impact on their building and we believe what we are planning will enhance the community amenity of the area.

We show an artist’s impression below of how the new theatre may look on the site. This is being further refined and will be updated as we refine our plan. The theatre will include a foyer, auditorium space, dressing rooms, green room, an overflow green room/rehearsal space and storage for our equipment and costumes. It is planned that the auditorium will have retractable seating for up to 115 patrons. By using retractable seating this will make the auditorium more versatile.







Coming soon.

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