A decade of drama: Isaac Theatre Royal

In the heart of Christchurch stands a testament to resilience and artistry, and this year, we celebrate the past, present, and future of this historical masterpiece.

Thirteen years ago, the Issac Theatre Royal (ITR) fell to its knees. Today it shines brighter than ever, beckoning both seasoned theatregoers and newcomers alike to experience its magic.

Once a mere venue for hire, the ITR has undergone a transformative journey, emerging as a beacon of community engagement and education in the arts. Despite the challenges posed by a global epidemic, the theatre stands tall, embracing its role as not just a stage, but a platform for connection and enrichment.

In the next decade, the Isaac Theatre Royal seeks a future defined by inclusivity and innovation. While maintaining a commercial focus to sustain its operations, the theatre aims to deepen its roots within the community, breaking down financial barriers and fostering relationships with lower-socioeconomic areas. Driving this is the Isaac Theatre Royal Commissioning Circle, which enlists patrons of the arts to support the theatre’s programming.

For many, the ITR holds a special place in their hearts, evoking memories of childhood wonder and artistic inspiration. With some staff members boasting decades-long tenures, the theatre is not just a workplace, it’s a homecoming. Stepping into the hallowed halls of the ITR is akin to returning to a familiar embrace, a sentiment that speaks volumes about its enduring legacy. With 37 years in service, senior manager Lianne Hawthorne (pictured) says the entire journey has been incredible. “This place isn’t just a job, it’s my second home, where every moment on stage feels like pure magic.”

A yearlong celebration culminating in a spectacular variety show in November will mark its 10th anniversary, as a new vision is imagined and fresh faces continue the passion that permeates each corner of the theatre.

Lianne Hawthorne, senior manager

As we celebrate the past, revel in the present, and anticipate the future of the Isaac Theatre Royal, one thing remains abundantly clear: the stage is set for greatness, and the show will go on.


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