Central city, Facilities  |  28 Mar 2019

Plans to provide the Court Theatre with a new home in the central city are moving forward, with the Christchurch City Council today agreeing to proceed with the detailed design work.

The concept design for the Court Theatre includes:

  • A main theatre with seating for 360
  • A studio theatre with seating for 150
  • A foyer with space for food and bar facilities
  • Rehearsal rooms and back of house facilities
  • Workshop, production and educational spaces
  • Offices for the Court’s staff

“Work on the business case for including the Court Theatre in the Performing Arts Precinct has been completed and we can now move forward with confidence to the design phase of this project, Deputy Mayor Andrew Turner says.

“It was always envisaged that the Court Theatre would be an anchor tenant in the Performing Arts Precinct, but it was important we established a viable business case for its inclusion before we began working on the design of the facility.

“The business case was presented to the Council today and we have agreed the project should proceed to the design stage. We want the Court Theatre back in our city centre and we are committed to working in partnership with them to achieve that goal, Cr Turner says.

“About 150,000 people a year attend performances at the Court Theatre so having it based within the Performing Arts Precinct is going to help enliven the central city.

The Performing Arts Precinct is a joint Council and Crown project. The Council is developing the facilities – with its contribution capped at $30 million – and the Crown is providing the land. The Crown has also signalled it will contribute $1.5 million toward the cost of developing the public realm spaces.  

The business case presented to the Council today puts the cost of developing the public realm and building a theatre that meets the needs of the Court Theatre at $31.5 million.

That figure does not include the costs of fitting out the theatre, which will be met by the Court.

“The precinct planning work that has been done as part of the business case allows for an additional black box community-style theatre to be developed in the future within the Performing Arts Precinct, if and when budget and resources become available. It is not, however, included in the current project scope, Cr Turner says.

Options for providing parking within the Performing Arts Precinct are also being investigated.

A separate report on parking options will be considered by the Council later in the year.

Court Theatre Chief Executive Barbara George says they are very pleased with today’s decision.

“We’d like to thank the Council and the project team we’ve been working with to get us to where we are today,” she says.

“This endorsement today means that we, as a company, can move to the next stage and we’re looking forward to continuing working with the Council in a positive partnership.”