Hannah Playhouse to be re-opened next year as national theatre for children

Press Release – Wellington Museums Trust
The Hannah Playhouse has a new tenant with the Wellington Museums Trust signing an agreement with the Hannah Playhouse Trust to lease the building during 2014 for the Capital E National Theatre for Children.

A $150,000 grant from Creative New Zealand will also enable the Museums Trust to open the Playhouse to other professional performing arts organisations for subsidised hire and to conduct a feasibility study on the future use of the Playhouse.

“Our involvement has been prompted by the need to have a Wellington base for the National Theatre for Children which no longer has access to the McKenzie Theatre in the Capital E building which is earthquake prone,” said Pat Stuart, Chief Executive of the Museums Trust.

“We do not see ourselves as the long-term operator of the Playhouse and view 2014 as a transition period to explore a new operating model and to lay down a plan to revitalise the Playhouse for the Performing Arts in Wellington.” Ms Stuart said.

Creative New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Stephen Wainwright, welcomed the move. “It will be heartening to see the Hannah Playhouse reopen as a Wellington theatre venue. The Wellington Museums Trust is well placed to take a leadership role in developing its future.”

With this agreement in place the Hannah Playhouse is available for the New Zealand Festival which will present four productions at the Playhouse in February/March.

The Capital E National Theatre for Children’s productions at the Hannah Playhouse in 2014 will be Mr McGee & the Biting Flea from Patch Theatre Company from 19 April until 16 May; Granddad’s Lucky Storm, from 5 to 19 July; and An Awfully Big Adventure launched to coincide with the centenary of the start of WW1 which will run from 26 July through to 2 August.

The grant is part of a one-off allocation of $170,000 set aside by Creative New Zealand to support Wellington theatre, after closure of the Downstage in September this year. The funding is earmarked to support new initiatives from the Wellington theatre community.

Enquiries from performing arts companies interested in presenting work at the Playhouse during 2014 should be directed to the Wellington Museums Trust from 13 January.

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