BATS Theatre relocating for upgrade

Last updated 14:24 29/10/2012
bats theatre
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ

OLD FAVOURITE: The well-known facade of the BATS Theatre.

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BATS Theatre will move in to a temporary venue until 2014 while earthquake strengthening and expansion is completed at their Kent Tce base.

The temporary venue will be in the McKenzie Theatre in the Capital E centre at Civic Square while its home for the past 22 years is strengthened and refurbished.

Business development manager Chris O'Neill said, under the "dream version" of the rebuild, an extra theatre of a similar size to the existing one would be built upstairs.

While there would be no extra shows scheduled, the extra space would mean more time to prepare between shows.

Up to four shows are currently scheduled per night at the 84-seat Kent Tce venue, with as little as 30 minutes between shows.

The rebuild would also provide more backstage space for performers.

Mr O'Neill said the theatre would not lose its iconic "feel" and the popular Pit bar would remain open and the facade would be preserved.

The cost of construction was not yet known.

In November last year, Sir Peter Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh stepped in to save the theatre and now owned the building but a spokesman for Sir Peter would not comment on whether the film-makers would fund the work.

"Essentially we're confident the work that will be undertaken will be covered," Mr O'Neill said.

It was likely the theatre would undertake fundraising next year.

Moving into Civic Square would open the theatre up to a new audience, he said.

"It's a fantastic opportunity to be in Civic Square, for us it means more exposure."

The last shows at the Kent Terrace site, Doomsday Christmas Sing-Along and The ImpoSTAR finish on December 15.

The Civic Square theatre would open on February 7 with Little Town Liars as part of the 2013 New Zealand Fringe festival.

It is anticipated BATS Theatre will reopen on Kent Tce in 2014.

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- The Dominion Post

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