History of the Waitakere Playhouse Theatre Trust
Since 1972 the old Star cinema (previously known as Glen Eden's Town Hall) had been continually used by Playhouse Productions Inc (later renamed Playhouse Theatre Incorporated) and other community groups as a venue for staging theatrical performances.
The Waitakere Playhouse Theatre Trust (WPTT) was established on February 12th, 1997 after discussions took place between Waitakere City Council and Playhouse Theatre Incorporated (P.T.I.), with a view to providing a top-class venue for live theatre and the performing arts for the Waitakere City district and the wider Auckland area. Forming the Trust Board was the only legal way in which fundraising for a renovation of Playhouse Theatre could proceed.
The primary aim of the Trust Board was to apply for grants for the necessary funding and to oversee the renovations, in an endeavour to ensure that a community asset was enhanced for the benefit of both the public and the community groups that would use the facility. As the new millennium approached it was recognized by P.T.I. members that Playhouse Theatre was in need of a major refurbishment and upgrade to comply with building regulations of the day and to provide a vastly improved performing arts facility.
To enable the Trust Board to come into being and the theatre rebuilding project to proceed, P.T.I. relinquished their long term lease of Playhouse with the W.C.C. which would have expired in the year 2028. This was taken into account by agreement that P.T.I. would continue to have a priority use of the new theatre complex.
Founding members of the 1997 Waitakere Playhouse Theatre Trust were Don Ryrie (Chairperson), Councillor Derek Battersby, Dorothy Chisholm and Peter Duncan.
Trust Board members embarked on a remarkable fundraising effort that took six years to achieve. Members of the 2002 Waitakere Playhouse Theatre Trust - Dorothy Chisholm (Chairperson), Councillor Derek Battersby, Robert Downes, Karen Mason, Linda Erbs and Christine Yeardly-Davern continued to work to help secure over $2 million in funding. Within the Trust Board a Building Sub-Committee was established. Chief Sponsor for the Project was Dorothy Chisholm who along with Cllr Derek Battersby (W.C.C) and Robert Downes, took on overseeing management of the huge theatre rebuilding project. Waitakere City Council were not able to provide Project Management assistance, however Mr. Alan Tresadern, Chief Engineer for WCC afforded some ongoing assistance as required.
Major financial contributors included Portage Charitable Trust, ASB Charitable Trust, Waitakere City Council, Lotteries Board, ARST Funding Waitakere and North Shore, Playhouse Theatre Incorporated.
The original renovation plans of the theatre included a fly-tower but one objection was received by Council from a neighbouring property because of shading issues, so inclusion of a fly-tower had to be abandoned. Playhouse was designated as a Heritage building in the Council's planning scheme and the Trust architect, Mr Peter Morgan, had to work closely with the Council's Heritage architect to ensure that the proposed development was in accordance with the heritage plan for the building. As a substantial amount of community funding was going to be used for the theatre renovation, there was an agreement that the new performing arts venue would become more available for use by many other organisations as well as the "resident" theatre group, Playhouse Theatre Incorporated (P.T.I.)
Work commenced on the actual theatre renovation on 4th February 2002.
RDT were appointed Project Managers and Gibson O'Connor were awarded the construction contract. Peter Radley was the Engineer. Mr Michael Joyce was Honorary Solicitor acting for P.T.I. Mr. Peter Duncan was Honorary Solicitor for WPTT.
Playhouse Theatre re-opened with great ceremony on 1st March, 2003.
Waitakere City Council
Mayor, Bob Harvey officiated and fellow councillors attended along with
theatre members, patrons and many of those who had helped to bring the
theatre refurbishment to fruition.
He gave special thanks to both the Waitakere Playhouse
Theatre Trust Board and The Playhouse Theatre Inc. Management Committee,
acknowledging the hard work that had been done by both bodies to ensure
that the renovations could go ahead, resulting in a wonderful
performing arts venue. Mayor Harvey then invited Dorothy Chisholm
(President of P.T.I. and Chairperson of W.P.T.T.) to cut the ribbon and
officially opened the sparkling new theatre. This was followed by all
enjoying a fabulous night at the Gala performance of "Anything Goes", a
memorable musical staged by P.T.I. for the opening season, the first of
many to come.
Playhouse Theatre Inc. has a priority booking of Playhouse Theatre for
16 weeks each year in which to stage plays, musicals, children's
productions and associated events. During the rest of the calendar the
venue is available for hire by community, corporate, private and
professional organizations to stage a big variety of events. Bookings
for use of the venue are in high demand.
In accordance with the original Trust Deed, each year the elected P.T.I.
President, Vice-President and two other P.T.I. committee members join
together with four other invited community members to form the Waitakere
Playhouse Theatre Trust. The Theatre Trust (W.P.T.T.) owns and governs
Playhouse Theatre and all Trust members work in a voluntary capacity.
Revenue from hire of the theatre covers administration, running costs,
maintenance and continual improvements of the venue.
Waitakere Playhouse Theatre Trust is a registered charity. Donations
and sponsorships are always appreciated and help to ensure the future
of an excellent performing arts venue that is available for all to