Playhouse Theatre - Home of Dunedin Repertory Society Inc

Refurbishing the Playhouse

The Playhouse Theatre in Albany Street needs a full refurbishment if it’s to endure for the long-term.

In 2021 the Dunedin Repertory Society (the building owners) commissioned a feasibility study of this – looking at what a refurbishment would involve, how much it might cost, and whether it’s needed by the community. The study found strong support for the Playhouse, both for the role our Children's Theatre plays in the community, and as a uniquely sized theatre within the city. 

The feasibility study included concept sketches of a design to demolish our 1960s extension (the stage and backstage areas), and rebuild it bigger and better - which would allow the front part of our main building to be reconfigured for much improved accessibility and circulation space. Our auditorium and large social space above would be retained, strengthened and improved, and special attention would be paid to preserving the building's character and heritage. The theatre would be fitted out with new technology too.

The QS estimate for this redevelopment was $4.64 million. Our current task is establishing whether we can raise that kind of money! It's a big challenge but we are really committed to saving the Playhouse for the community for the long term.

In 2022 we joined up with fellow venues the Athenaeum Building and the Mayfair Theatre to explore a concept for refurbishing all three venues in sequence. Our "theatre network" approach is a collaborative solution to the city's struggle for fit-for-purpose performing arts venues, with the added advantage of saving three heritage buildings across the north, centre and south of the city, and supporting the amazing activities already going on inside those buildings.

We're suggesting the project could be funded through cornerstone investment from Dunedin City Council, using money the city had already set aside for a performing arts venue, with the rest of the money to be raised by our organisations independently. 

You can read more about this idea on the Dunedin Theatre Network website.

You can help!

Regardless of how it's tackled, securing funding and saving the Playhouse for the long term will be a huge project. It'll take a village!

You can help right now by voicing your support for the Playhouse - by writing us a letter of support, or through social media. Tell us about your thoughts and memories of the Playhouse. Even your old photos speak volumes! You can get in touch with us at

You can also support us by coming to events at the theatre - whether staged by us or by other organisations hiring our venue.

If you're part of an arts organisation, we would love to know how the Playhouse can be of value to you. Please tell us whether you would use a refurbished Playhouse, what features you'd need it to have, and how our theatre would help you have an impact on your community or help achieve your goals. We'd be happy to show you through the theatre and chat, especially if it's been a while since you last visited.

Down the track we will need to raise a lot of money. We will set up a channel for this once we have more information available.  In the meantime, you are VERY welcome to donate to our society (and we have charitable status to enable rebates). Please drop us a line! 

The stronger the community support, the better our chances of securing funding to keep this treasure going for many years to come.