$12m of PGF support gets Waikato Theatre across the line

Published: Nov 28, 2019

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The Waikato will soon be home to a world-class 1,300 seat theatre following a $12 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund, Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern has announced.

Aaron Hape, PDU, Jamie Strange, Labour MP, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Robert Pigou, PDU, Delwyn Abraham, PDU

Aaron Hape, PDU, Jamie Strange, Labour MP, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Robert Pigou, PDU, Delwyn Abraham, PDU.

With a total project cost of $73.9 million, the theatre will be built on the former Hamilton Hotel site overlooking the Waikato River and will feature a large stage, orchestra pit and public foyer.

The investment has been a catalyst for the construction of the neighbouring $32 million Victoria Property Hotel in anticipation of a significant increase in visitor numbers to the Waikato, and is likely to unlock further growth in the area as the venue attracts local and international shows.

"The Government is making good progress on strengthening regional economies through building new infrastructure that boosts regional wellbeing," Jacinda Ardern said.

"Like many locals I have great memories of performances at the Founders Theatre. While it's sad to have lost this venue, it's fantastic to see a new plan developed.

"This is an exciting package for the region that will encourage tourism and ensure locals can enjoy the benefits of both home-grown and international cultural performances," Jacinda Ardern said.

The Theatre project was initiated and led by Momentum Waikato, which has raised a further $57 million for the total construction cost.

Momentum Waikato Chair Leonard Gardner said the vision is for every child in the Waikato to have the opportunity to ‘Share the Stage’ with the world’s best performers.

"The Waikato Regional Theatre will be an impressive state-of-the-art, world-class performance venue, the pride of Hamilton and the Waikato.

"The remarkable flexibility of its stage configurations, the crystal-clear acoustics and up-close sightlines of its auditorium will, however, just be the means to an end.

"What matters is the enchanting and enthralling experiences that will happen within and around the theatre.

"We will all be able to see fantastic international entertainment here on our doorstep, and our best performers will have the springboard they need to launch themselves out into the world.

"A big thank you to the Government and its Provincial Growth Fund team. This key contribution is the green light for preparations for the construction of the Waikato Regional Theatre to begin," Leonard Gardner said.

The theatre is a priority project for the region within the Te Waka Regional Economic Development Plan.