Courting the theatre

Channeling “Kiwi-Scandi chic”, Christchurch’s new Court Theatre is already drawing an appreciative audience without having opened its doors yet.

On the corner of Colombo and Gloucester Streets, the exposed timber beams set the scene for a state-of-the-art theatre, due for completion in late 2024. The concept, for the $56 million build, a collaboration between Athfield Architects (NZ) and Haworth Tomkins (London, UK), represents a new standard in international theatre design, aimed at creating the best possible space to see great theatre in New Zealand.

“Since the build started in February 2022, the main contractors and subcontractors have been impressive in the speed with which they have proceeded with construction,” says Ross Gumbley, the Court’s artistic project advisor. He adds the finishes are of an equally impressive high standard.

“Apparently a theatre is one of the most difficult types of buildings to construct because of the unsupported cavities within it. We have built very few production house theatres in New Zealand, so it has been a real learning curve for the contractors, and they have responded magnificently.”

The theatre is weather-protected now with its roof installed. That means the complex interior fit-out work can take place involving many complex theatre engineering skills, not the least of which is the acoustics. “There are two performance spaces in the building—an approximately 375-seat main auditorium and a smaller around 130-seat theatre,” says Ross.

The Court Theatre has scheduled its inaugural onstage production for the first half of 2025.

Previous Post

A layer of chic

Next Post

Supreme skincare service: Transform Clinic Merivale

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *