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Royal New Zealand Ballet opens new home in Wellington CBD



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The dancers of the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) now have a new home in a prime spot in the Wellington CBD with the blessing of their new rehearsal studio.

The blessing ceremony was held this morning at the building at 115 Wakefield Street, previously the Michael Fowler Centre carpark.

“I am delighted the Wellington City Council can provide this space for the RNZB while the St James Theatre is being strengthened,” says Wellington Mayor Justin Lester. “It is an investment in the RNZB as a critical part of Wellington’s culture infrastructure.

“It’s more than 60 years since the RNZB began to call Wellington home, and this rehearsal space means it will continue to call the capital home.

“The public will also have a window on the ballet’s work with the activated space linking Jervois Quay and Wakefield Street.”

RNZB Executive Director Lester McGrath says they are pleased to be making the move to Wakefield Street and are grateful for the Council’s support in planning and building this new space.

“We are looking forward to creating dance magic in these new studios, starting with Bold Moves in July and August, and then our brand new production of Hansel and Gretel this Christmas. We are also looking forward to our ultimate return to the St James, with seismic strengthening complete and improved facilities for audiences and artists.”

The purpose-built dance studio features two rehearsal studios equivalent to the size of two of the studios within the St James Theatre, as well as areas for costume making, changing rooms and office staff.

Following the RNZB’s return to the St James Theatre – expected to be in 2021– the building could be repurposed at the site, house other arts and culture activity, be moved elsewhere, or sold.

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4 comments:

  1. Talison, 5. June 2019, 8:37

    At the expense of several dozen much-needed parking spaces. Does RNZB really need to be right in the centre of the city? Was there really nowhere else?

     
  2. Barnyard Noises, 5. June 2019, 9:03

    Talison, that’s a valid question. Part of me thinks it’s a long term ploy to sell that space fpr development. They can turn around after a few years and say “see we didn’t need these parks so why not sell it off?”

     
  3. Judy Siers, 5. June 2019, 10:57

    I believe this is a positive.
    As ratepayers, we have all helped the Company in their demise and established temporary premises for them. And the bonus is that dance is now in our face, not hidden away, Bravo!! How many of us knew that Wellington was home to our national ballet company? Only a few I guess, the rest will know now.
    I like to think of the building as a big billboard promoting Wellington Cultural City!
    Well done WCC.

     
  4. Andrew, 5. June 2019, 13:01

    Isn’t the building on top of a large cesspit/overflow tank that was meant to be upgraded? Or has that work been completed?