The public opening of the new Court Theatre on Saturday 10 December is a vital step towards restoring the cultural life of the people of Christchurch, says Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright.
“The drive and commitment of Felicity Price and the trustees, and the Court Theatre team lead by Philip Aldridge has been extraordinary and inspiring,” Mr Wainwright said.
“The creation of this new 400 seat theatre in a former granary just 10 months after the February earthquake is an example of the innovation and can-do attitude of The Court. It has been built in just 16 weeks.
“It will provide a much anticipated injection of entertainment, diversion and pleasure as the city faces continuing challenge and change.
“The Court and all those who have supported it over the past 40 years know how important the theatre is to Christchurch. It is a telling reminder of The Court’s place in the hearts, minds and wallets of the national theatre community, that across the country New Zealanders have contributed to its rebuilding.
“At Creative New Zealand we are pleased to have played our part,” he said.
Creative New Zealand provided an Emergency Assistance Grant of $500,000 to The Court to assist with the refit of the new theatre. This is in addition to committing funding of $892,000 per annum in 2012 and 2013 through the Arts Leadership Investment (Toi Tōtara Haemata) programme.
Funding for the rebuild has been raised internationally and nationally, including $2.5 million from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust.
“As well as The Court, we have seen progress elsewhere, such as a gallery and artists’ studios opened at Chambers @241, the Christchurch Arts Festival held over several weekends, and the successful presentation of the 6th SCAPE Christchurch Biennial.
Mr Wainwright said, Creative New Zealand would continue to work with the Christchurch City Council, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, CERA, Arts Voice, arts organisations, artists and arts supporters to ensure that Cantabrians are able enjoy and participate in the arts.