Capital E, in Civic Square, announced today that it has been closed while an engineering survey is carried out. The sign on the door (above) provided no information. But in response to an inquiry on Twitter, Capital E announced: “We’ve closed our doors to the public temporarily while we await the results of an engineering survey.”
More details were provided tonight by a council spokesman. He said that the Council (as landlord) has received an engineer’s report, in draft form, indicating that there are structural issues with the building that put it below the required 34% of current building code – in other words it is quake-prone. Discussions are being held with Wellington Museums Trust about how to deal with this situation.
Last month, Bats Theatre announced that it had to move out of its Kent Terrace building while earthquake strengthening was carried out. Its plan was: to move into Capital E. The future of this plan would now seem to be in doubt.
Capital E is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust. Capital E’s regular programming including its Festival for Children (March 2013) was to have continued as usual during the period of BATS residency in the McKenzie Theatre. Full details of Capital E activities can be found at http://www.capitale.org.nz.
Press Release – Bats Theatre – October 30
Bats Theatre will temporarily relocate to the McKenzie Theatre in the Capital E centre in Civic Square, opening its first season there in early 2013. The move will allow for planned earthquake strengthening and refurbishment work to take place at 1 Kent Terrace, the theatre’s home for the last 22 years.
The temporary relocation will mean BATS can continue to present the majority of its regular annual programme in the city centre. The 2013 BATS programme at the McKenzie Theatre will include the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, Young and Hungry festival of new theatre, BATS’ own STAB programme and selected seasons of theatre works by New Zealand artists.
BATS activities will begin in Civic Square with the opening of Little Town Liars in early February, as part of the 2013 New Zealand Fringe festival.
Chair of the BATS Theatre Board Victoria Spackman said, “Our audiences and artists can expect the same quality of BATS experience at Civic Square. We’re working on some exciting branding plans that will bring a bit of the BATS style to Civic Square during our stay.”
The temporary relocation will allow BATS Theatre to keep on doing what it does best – supporting New Zealand theatre makers and providing them with a much needed platform to present their work affordably to Wellington audiences,” said Ms Spackman.
The earthquake strengthening and refurbishment work for 1 Kent Terrace is currently in the planning stages and it is anticipated that BATS Theatre will reopen there in 2014.
BATS Theatre Board and Management are working closely with the building owners as plans develop and intend to provide regular updates and insights to the public once work commences in 2013.
“This is one of the most exciting journeys that BATS Theatre has embarked upon in its history,” said Ms Spackman. “We look forward to sharing it with both the theatre community in New Zealand and our audiences in Wellington.” Regular updates will also be posted at bats.co.nz and on the theatre’s Facebook page.