Refurbishing the Playhouse
The Playhouse Theatre in Albany Street needs a full refurbishment if it’s to endure for the long-term. The Dunedin Repertory Society (the building owners) are undertaking 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.
Proving the community need for a refurbished Playhouse means showing the value of our Children’s Theatre productions, and hearing from the arts community about how else the theatre could be used it if were refurbished.
Got a view, or know someone that might? Please get in touch!
The stronger the community support, the better our chances of securing funding to keep this treasure going for many years to come.
Why we need a refurbishment
General age, wear and tear. The main part of the Playhouse dates to 1876. It was extended and converted to a theatre in the 1960s and hasn’t had a substantial upgrade since then. We had critical repairs done in 2020 which mean we can safely use the theatre in the short-term, but we need a more comprehensive upgrade for the building to last long-term.
We’ve already commissioned a number of building assessments, so we have reasonable understanding of what upgrades will be needed. The feasibility study will take this work to the next level to give a robust, prioritised plan for refurbishment, and an estimate of the cost.
At this stage, we envisage a refurbishment project including at least:
•A range of “unseen” building improvements – this could include earthquake strengthening, plumbing and electrical upgrades, insulation, etc – the assessments will tell us what we need.
•New and more spacious auditorium seating (which may mean capacity decreases)
•New rigging and stage lights, new stage curtains
•Improved accessibility to at least the foyer, auditorium and toilet facilities
•Potentially layout changes for better fire egress
•Modernised backstage facilities (modernised kitchenette, dressing room, toilet facilities)
•New kitchen upstairs and modernized coffee bar space
•New décor throughout
What we're asking of the community
For audiences or participants of our Children’s Theatre
Please tell us your stories and experiences of the Playhouse! We need to demonstrate the value and impact the children’s theatre has on its audiences, casts, crews, and their families. Please complete this survey or email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear what the Playhouse means to you, and any thoughts you may have on its future, so we can factor that into refurbishment plans.
For arts organisations
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.
First up, completing this survey would be a big help for us. We’d also love to show you through the theatre and chat, especially if it’s been a while since you last visited. Email us at email@example.com or let us know through the survey if you’d like to join a group social session in May; alternatively we can arrange a separate tour or coffee catch-up.
The Repertory Society understands it won’t make economic sense to refurbish the building for the children’s theatre alone. This is a project for the whole community. We’re committed to making the Playhouse available, accessible and affordable for the community to use alongside the children’s theatre productions.
A few last words from us…
We understand the arts community are busy with the Fringe Festival, Arts Festival, Readers & Writers Festival… but sometimes you just have to kick a project like this off. And what better time to talk about Dunedin’s arts venues than when we’re out experiencing them?
Refurbishing the Playhouse will be a really big, exciting and rewarding project. We will need a bigger team to get us through it and to then help the Repertory Society adapt to what will feel like a new habitat, and to develop new ways of working. It’s a great time to join our Society or Committee and contribute to the city’s arts community. Come along to our AGM or let us know if you’re interested!