Wellington Scoop

After funding cut, Downstage to close – ending 50 years of theatre productions

News release from Downstage
The Board of Downstage Theatre today announced its decision to close the company. The decision comes following the announcement by Creative New Zealand not to fund Downstage in 2014.

Downstage Theatre Trust chair Allan Freeth said today that the Board had not taken the decision lightly.

“Downstage has a fifty year history of bringing outstanding theatre experiences to Wellington audiences.”

“In recent years the theatre has pursued a new model – based on partnerships with artistic companies, taking risks on new works, and creating a supportive environment for artists.

“It is not possible to continue this work without adequate and stable funding.”

Mr Freeth said the Board acknowledged the many achievements of the individuals and artists who have worked with Downstage over the years, and the professionalism and hard work of the theatre’s staff. In particular, the Board acknowledged the contribution of CEO and Director Hilary Beaton.

The Board was also grateful for the backing of Downstage’s many dedicated supporters, funders and sponsors.

The theatre closure will take place immediately following the season of Live at Six, which is currently showing.

City council says it’ll help find a successor to Downstage


  1. Peter Kennedy, 17. September 2013, 15:20

    Sad, I’m frigging angry. Downstage was an iconic part of Wellington’s and New Zealand’s theatre history, and it’s been left to wither on the vine. A city is defined by its culture, and the officers seem to take more notice of the drunks in Courtenay Place, than they do in cultivating the artistic merits of its citizens. Disgraceful.

  2. Hel, 17. September 2013, 16:42

    Would prefer to see ratepayers assisting the like of Downstage rather than Zealandia or the Pulse. But Downstage has struggled to maintain its relevance and over recent years has probably not managed to bring audiences along with it.

  3. Uther Dean, 17. September 2013, 16:43

    Downstage’s closure is complicated, sad and inevitable but can we be clear that theatre in this city is not dying, just one model of it is. [Via Twitter]