Fundraising trust boost for Gisborne's War Memorial Theatre

Thursday 29 March 2012, 6:39PM
By Gisborne District Council


The quest to redevelop Gisborne’s War Memorial Theatre just took a giant leap forward. The War Memorial Theatre Gisborne Trust has now been formed. It will spearhead a major fundraising campaign that will deliver a theatre to the Gisborne community we can all be proud of.

Led by Councillor Pat Seymour, the trust will fundraise and assist others to fundraise for the $7.2million upgrade that includes improvements to virtually every area of the current building. The upgraded theatre will boast a larger stage, bigger auditorium, new fly-tower and a vastly enhanced foyer.

The need for an upgrade of the theatre has been acknowledged for some time. The building was built in 1957 by the RSA, and transformed into a theatre in 1975. Thirty-seven years on it is in urgent need of some attention and is deteriorating fast. The upgrade featured in Gisborne District Council’s Ten Year Plan adopted in 2009. Since then a lot of work has been done scoping the project, doing feasibility studies, considering alternative locations and finalising plans.

The plans we are looking at now are impressive, says Mayor Meng Foon. “The upgraded theatre will offer modern, up-to-date facilities for audiences and performers alike as well as attracting a wider range of touring performances, concerts and events. We will have the right facility to develop and showcase the amazing talent we have in this district.”

“Council have committed to contributing 30% towards the upgrade in its draft 2012-2022 Ten Year Plan which is being consulted on until 20 April. The trust will take on the task of fundraising the other $5.25million. They need a commitment to this funding before Council will commence any work on the project.”

The trustees are Councillor Seymour (Chair), Councillor Rehette Stoltz, John Logan, Anne Muir, Tina Karaitiana, Bronwen Holdsworth, Shona Egan and Gavin McLean. All are passionate about the need for a modern, full function theatre as core a community facility for our district.

A Trust Deed and Memorandum of Understanding have been approved by Council and an application to the Charities Commission has been forwarded. By applying for charitable status any individuals making a donation will be able to claim a tax credit of up to one third of the amount they donated. Companies can also claim a deduction for donations.

In the meantime the trust is busy putting together an exciting fundraising programme. The trust will kick off with a gala black tie event in early June, says Councillor Seymour. “The event will feature a significant international talent with strong ties to Gisborne. Those attending will be able to see the plans for the redeveloped theatre and have a chance to meet with Roger Shand. Roger is New Zealand’s most experienced theatre architect who has been contracted to this project. Details of the event will be announced soon.”