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Locals wanted for War Memorial Theatre build

8 Mar 2013

Locals wanted for War Memorial Theatre build

A redeveloped War Memorial Theatre moved a step closer this week. Council expects to be ready to invite ‘Registrations of Interest’ for the construction of the theatre by the middle of this month (March 2013). Resource consent has been approved, says Engineering and Works group manager Peter Higgs. “We expect building consent to be approved next week.”

“This is a major project for Gisborne. It has been designed by Roger Shand, New Zealand’s most experienced theatre architect. The redeveloped theatre will have a larger capacity and better staging facilities to meet national touring group requirements. It is going to look fantastic when it is finished and will attract bigger and better shows to the city.”

“We are giving local contractors some warning that this is coming up. It is anticipated that construction will start on 1 July 2013 and that the theatre will be reopened late 2014 or early in 2015.”

‘We are putting together information for those who may be thinking about tendering for all, or part of the construction. This will enable contractors to assess the project as to whether they have the staff, equipment and availability required. Construction will be split into 2 contracts. Stage one is the build and foundation work. Stage 2, which will begin later next year, is the theatre services fit out.”

Council wants to encourage local contractors to play a part in this construction process; be that as an individual business or as part of a consortium with other businesses.

“We will be looking to contract companies with the experience and skills to do a great job and we are keen to keep the money that has been raised in Gisborne staying in Gisborne. I can be contacted if anyone wants more information,” says Mr Higgs.

The build is only possible thanks to the efforts of the War Memorial Theatre Gisborne Trust who have been fundraising for the redevelopment since May 2012. The trust has now reached the $4m milestone. Council will contribute $2.15m and the trust has banked or had pledged $4.144m. The total cost of the project is approximately $7.5m.

Construction can only start when most of the funds have been raised.

One of the popular ways people can support the project is to “buy-a-seat”, says Trust Chair Pat Seymour. “By purchasing a $250 sponsorship, individuals or families can have their name engraved on a plaque that will be secured to one of theatre’s new seats.”

“The War Memorial Theatre holds a special place in the hearts of many Gisborne people. Buying a seat is a tangible way to help preserve the city’s cultural history and ensure the theatre is a special place for Gisborne people in the future. There are still 200 seats available. We are keen to make contact with more supporters”

For a brochure and contact details for all the trust members. Brochures are also available from Customer Services in Fitzherbert Street.