During the development of the Hamilton Arts Agenda in 2011, and as part of the 2012-2022 10-Year Plan process, Hamilton Council identified the need for a theatres review.
The Hamilton City Council Theatres review mapped out the city’s long-term theatre and performing arts space needs, and its aim was to make sure the performing arts facilities met the standards of a modern city.
Theatres Review Report
As part of the review, a report identified the issues facing out theatres and possible options for the future. The report was presented to the Mayor and Councillors in February 2013 and was open for public feedback until late March 2013.
The submission process encouraged open feedback on the review report and in particular sought feedback on the recommended option proposed in the report (option one). In total 119 submissions were received. Very few submissions endorsed the status quo and most presented a strong desire for change.
During 2013, Council continued to work with parties who, during the submission process, sought Council consideration of alternate operating and ownership models.
In late September 2013, Council approved an external proposal to operate The Meteor Theatre, and in February 2014 The Meteor building was gifted to the One Victoria Trust. Council gifted the use of The Meteor Theatre (plus some on-site assets) to the One Victoria Trust plus $225,000 in cash funding over a three-year period.
In return the One Victoria Trust now operates the theatre as a viable community theatre hub; the trust has taken over full responsibility for the care and maintenance of the building and raise funds for building remediation work which is needed to bring it up to at least the minimum standard required of the new building strength code.
Theatres Review Closeout Report
On 28 August 2014, the final outcome and recommendation from the Hamilton City Theatres Review was reported to Council , and the Theatres review project was concluded.
Councillors asked management to explore the potential exit of the Clarence Street Theatre operation. They also endorsed the recommendation Council consider renewal of Founders Theatre and other long-term theatre developments as part of Council’s 10-Year Plan and 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy.
Where to next
Clarence Street Theatre
Council endorsed the staff recommendation that staff work with Creative Waikato to develop a proposal for new management and ownership of Clarence Street Theatre, and report back to Council with an appropriate recommendation at the Council meeting on 27 November 2014.
Although not strictly part of Council’s Theatre review, the land the Theatre sits on has been approved for sale by Council – a decision made as part of Council’s last 10-Year Plan.
On 30 October, Council passed a motion stating Riverlea Theatre would have first right of refusal to purchase the land beneath its building. Council staff have begun discussions with representatives of Riverlea Theatre.