Children's theatre to lease Downstage

Last updated 06:28 23/12/2013

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The seats of the Hannah Playhouse will be filled with theatre-lovers again next year - though it will be a considerably younger crowd.

Wellington Museums Trust announced that the Capital E National Theatre for Children would take on the space formerly occupied by Downstage Theatre.

The future of the Cambridge Tce building has been uncertain since Downstage closed in September, and the children's theatre has been looking for a new home since its Civic Square base was declared earthquake- prone last November.

Wellington Museums Trust chief executive Pat Stuart said the children's theatre had signed a one-year lease, during which the space would be available for subsidised hire for performing arts groups.

Four New Zealand Festival productions will be held there in February and March, and the children's theatre will kick off its season in April.

"We do not see ourselves as the long-term operator of the playhouse and view 2014 as a transition period to explore a new operating model and to lay down a plan to revitalise the playhouse for the performing arts in Wellington," Ms Stuart said.

A $150,000 Creative New Zealand grant is allowing the trust to share the space with other groups, as well as do a feasibility study on the building's future use.

The grant is part of a one-off allocation of $170,000 set aside by Creative NZ to support new initiatives from the Wellington theatre community.

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- The Dominion Post

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