See the city different

The theatre of the harbour

Auckland Theatre Company is the anchor tenant for the 650-seat ASB Waterfront Theatre, which opened with an official ceremony on Thursday 22nd September.  Established in 1992, Auckland Theatre Company is Auckland's premier professional theatre company and one of the leading theatre companies in New Zealand. Currently it presents a main bill season of seven to eight plays to over 70,000 people from throughout Auckland and the Upper North Island each year.

The new theatre enables new collaborations, opportunities, audiences and a new dimension for Wynyard Quarter. While Auckland Theatre Company is be the anchor tenant, the venue is also available for national and international companies such as Royal New Zealand Ballet, Black Grace Dance Company and the New Zealand Opera. Furthermore, it is the right configuration and capacity to host international touring productions, which were bypassing Auckland due to the lack of a suitable venue.

Designed by Moller Architects and BVN Architecture, and built on time and to budget by Hawkins Construction, it’s the first theatre in the Southern Hemisphere to be targeting a 5 Green Star rating for efficiency and sustainability. Its standout features include a glass-walled air-bridge linking the theatre to the ASB bank and a scissor lift capable of carrying 4 tonnes so a car can be brought into the theatre. The glass lift’s back wall is lined with cedar and features an eye-catching staircase with wooden balustrades allowing theatre-goers to reach the main theatre entrance on level one. The ground level has an entertaining area with bar and café. Theatre performers have a string of VIP dressing rooms with their own private en-suites while two separate men and ladies dressing rooms, each with 20 seats, have Hollywood lighting, pin boards, storage areas and en-suites.

Two new public artworks were launched at the theatre’s opening. American artist Leo Villareal’s light work rises to a height of two levels, its 10,000 LED lights creating a stunning image visible through the theatre’s glass wall. New Zealand sculptor Professor Robert (Bob) Jahnke has created a pou for the theatre’s Logan Campbell Yard, Pouwhakamaharatanga mo Maui tikitiki a Taranga, which stands 6.4m tall. The three figures crowning the pou represent three Maui narratives: Maui slowing the sun, Maui fishing up the North Island and Maui securing fire from Mahuika the goddess of fire. The pou is made from corten steel and laminated totara, and serves as a focal point for powhiri and other ceremonial events at the main entrance to the new theatre. 

The theatre is expected to make a significant contribution to the local economy. It is conservatively estimated that 120,000 visitors will attend the venue annually, bringing with them a projected $8.59 million of additional spending, with an impact on direct waterfront GDP of $3.72 million per annum, and creating the equivalent of 75 full-time jobs.

A free public open day was held on Saturday 24th September 2016 It's first performance Billy Elliot the Musical runs until the 27th of November.