Impact Stories

Trust Waikato grant sets stage for Waikato Regional Theatre

September 6, 2017

5 min read

Rendered concept drawing of the theatre from inside looking out during the day, filled with people wandering around and watching a performance, with the river in the background.

Trust Waikato, one of the region’s largest philanthropic trusts, has just approved a grant towards the development of the new Waikato Regional Theatre.

“The Trust is pleased to be supporting the Waikato Regional Theatre which will be at the cutting-edge of many new and exciting developments,” says Trust Waikato Chair, Niwa Nuri.

“We are supporting this project at an early stage as the benefits will be so wide-ranging and positive for our communities. The new theatre will add to the cultural, economic and creative opportunities across the region for many years to come,” says Niwa.

The Trust Waikato grant totals $15 million and it is hoped that this initial funding will encourage other funders, businesses and individuals to add their financial support towards the development of the theatre.

“We are very grateful to receive this funding from Trust Waikato,” says Leonard Gardner, Chair of Momentum Waikato, “it means the project is a step closer to becoming reality,”

Trust Waikato has taken a leadership position and this grant recognises that the Waikato Regional Theatre is a project that will contribute to transformational change for the Waikato region.

The Waikato Regional Theatre will be a significant draw-card for international and national performances and provide a much-needed central venue within the Hamilton CBD’s growing cultural precinct.

The new theatre will be a place of inspiration and development for the Waikato region’s creative talent through learning and teaching opportunities. It will also provide many opportunities for community engagement through multi-use public areas for gatherings, meetings and performances. The Waikato Regional Theatre aims to foster relationships with performers and patrons across New Zealand, ultimately becoming a tourist destination in its own right.

After a very thorough process of site selection, the Hamilton Hotel in central Hamilton has been recommended as the location for the Waikato Regional Theatre. This privately-owned site on Victoria Street is bordered by Embassy Park and Sapper Moore-Jones Place and runs down to Waikato River. The site is in a premium location within the cultural precinct and is close to vibrant hospitality activities, accommodation and the Waikato River. It also provides an excellent opportunity to preserve the city’s built heritage.

Rendered concept drawing of the theatre lit up at dusk from the river.

The proposed plans include an 1,100-seat theatre, lobby, multi-use areas and functional rooms for performers and technicians. Its design will engage with and reflect the site’s pre-European cultural heritage and patterns of iwi settlement, as well as its unique setting adjacent to the river. Physically the building will connect with the Waikato River, with open access and connection to promenades.

Due to prudent investment and fiscal management means, this grant from Trust Waikato is being made separately from the Trust Waikato donations budget.

“This year the donations budget is $11.3 million. The grant to the theatre is from donation reserves meaning the grant will not impact on the annual donations budget,” says Dennis Turton, Trust Waikato Chief Executive.

Trust Waikato is a keen supporter of projects that strengthen communities, encourage participation and inclusion, and support volunteers. It donates to not-for-profit community groups and projects across the greater Waikato region.

For further information contact: Dennis Turton, Trust Waikato Chief Executive

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