With funding now secured for The Court Theatre’s new central city home, Christchurch City Council has appointed Hawkins to deliver the project in 2024.
“We’re very pleased to be able to work alongside Hawkins as the main contractor to build this wonderful new facility, which will be at the heart of the Performing Arts Precinct,” says Mayor Phil Mauger.
“Hawkins is an experienced main contractor who can work effectively with the project team and deliver a new home for The Court Theatre where they can flourish and grow. It will be the best theatre in New Zealand and it will bring Christchurch’s Performing Arts Precinct to life.
“Within an easy stroll people will be able to experience the performing arts at four fantastic venues – the Christchurch Town Hall, The Piano: Centre for Music and the Arts, the restored Isaac Theatre Royal and The Court Theatre. Along with the prospective relocation of the Christchurch School of Music, this will really cement Christchurch as the cultural capital of the South Island, and help Christchurch on its path to becoming the events and sporting capital of New Zealand,” Mayor Mauger says.
The Council is committing $46 million towards the development of the Performing Arts Precinct, which includes the construction of The Court Theatre, the public realm and landscaping.
The Court is also fundraising $10 million towards the move to its new home, with $7 million a direct contribution to the construction. The Crown has provided the land and $3 million under the terms of the global settlement agreement with the Council.
Additional funding has been allocated to the project, with tender prices for construction coming in significantly higher than the original budget.
“This wasn’t unexpected, as the budget for the project was set well before the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine began disrupting supply chains and pushing up commodity prices and construction costs,” Mayor Mauger says.
“Across the country, and the world, all major construction projects are experiencing cost escalations.”
With $6 million already spent on development and early works, the total cost of the project will be $56 million.
“We see this spend as essential to giving Christchurch the Performing Arts Precinct it deserves, and as a timely investment in the central city. The Court Theatre has been in business for more than 50 years, with a proven track record as a sustainable, forward-looking business. It will be an asset to the central city and its supporters’ spending will be a welcome boost to the local economy,” Mayor Mauger says.
The Court Theatre’s new home will be located on the corner of Colombo and Gloucester streets, opposite Tūranga.
“The early groundworks are already complete and that means Hawkins can hit the ground running in the last quarter of 2022,” Mayor Mauger says.
Barbara George, Chief Executive of The Court Theatre, says their new three-storey building will include a 375-seat playhouse theatre, a 130-seat theatre, an education studio and a number of multipurpose spaces which will ensure a full range of theatre experiences are available for all ages of audiences, from all parts of our community. The front of house spaces will be welcoming with excellent hospitality offerings.
“All the aspects of a working theatre, such as set building, costume making and rehearsals, will be based on site – it’s always fascinating to look behind-the-scenes at the entire Court Theatre industry,” Ms George says.
“The process of creating a new home for The Court Theatre is a fascinating journey, and we can’t wait to welcome all of Christchurch to join us when we open in 2024.”