Government puts $417k into theatre

File photo of Lawson Field Theatre.

THE planned upgrade of Lawson Field Theatre took a big step forward this morning with the Government announcing a funding contribution of more than $417,000.

Social Development Minister and East Coast MP Anne Tolley has announced, on behalf of Maggie Barry, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, a capital grant of $417,513 towards seismic-strengthening costs for the Lawson Field.

Mrs Tolley said the funding would greatly assist Gisborne District Council to complete pressing seismic strengthening work.

“Gisborne District Council had to close Lawson Field Theatre in October 2016 when its main auditorium was assessed as being earthquake prone.

“I know the absence of this theatre has been keenly missed by the region’s performing arts community.”

Mayor Meng Foon said he acknowledged the Ministry of Culture and Heritage for their grant towards the strengthening and re-redevelopment of Lawson Field Theatre.

“This is tremendous news

“Planning is on track and this facility will be a great asset to our community.”

Mrs Tolley said the funding was part of round three of the regional culture heritage, which is for capital projects specifically benefiting regional arts, culture and heritage institutions.

Established in 2016 with $29,527 million in funding over three years, the fund is for capital projects specifically benefiting regional arts, culture and heritage institutions.

Two stages to upgrade

Mrs Tolley said Gisborne District Council was taking a two-staged approach to upgrading the theatre:

Stage one focused on upgrading the structure and strength of the building;

Stage two would ensure that the theatre was appropriately fitted out with interior facilities and equipment as a high-quality touring venue.

The grant was conditional on the council’s commitment to completing stage two of the project.

Lawson Field Theatre will increase the number and range of high-quality performing arts events possible on the East Coast.

“It will support both local productions and host more intimate touring performances,” she said.

“As a venue, the 280-seat Lawson Field Theatre provides a complimentary size option to the larger and recently- upgraded War Memorial Theatre which seats 500.

“In recent years we’ve seen the Tairawhiti Museum’s building upgraded, and the adjacent C Company Memorial House built — both with the assistance of Arts, Culture and Heritage.

“In 2015 the War Memorial Theatre reopened after being fully upgraded, and the new HB Williams Library project will soon be completed and open for business in mid-2018.”

Original budget

The council originally budgeted $1.1m to upgrade Lawson Field Theatre in the 2015-2025 long-term plan.

Further assessments of the building indicated earthquake-strengthening would cost more than estimated in 2014.

The War Memorial Theatre Trust, now devoted to working on Lawson Field Theatre, estimates another $2m is needed to top up the council’s original $1.1m. Some fundraising progress has been made.

The Lotteries Community Facilities Fund has awarded the Lawson Field Theatre a $350,000 grant for earthquake-strengthening improvements.

Other than earthquake strengthening, improvements include cladding, improved drainage, a firewall between the theatre and neighbouring council administration building, and renovations to backstage toilet and shower

The Lawson Field Theatre was opened in July 1983, made possible by community-raised funds.

The theatre is the council’s smaller flexible facility, intended to be accessible to a wide range of groups and activities, including performance, community and fundraising events, and weddings.

THE planned upgrade of Lawson Field Theatre took a big step forward this morning with the Government announcing a funding contribution of more than $417,000.

Social Development Minister and East Coast MP Anne Tolley has announced, on behalf of Maggie Barry, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, a capital grant of $417,513 towards seismic-strengthening costs for the Lawson Field.

Mrs Tolley said the funding would greatly assist Gisborne District Council to complete pressing seismic strengthening work.

“Gisborne District Council had to close Lawson Field Theatre in October 2016 when its main auditorium was assessed as being earthquake prone.

“I know the absence of this theatre has been keenly missed by the region’s performing arts community.”

Mayor Meng Foon said he acknowledged the Ministry of Culture and Heritage for their grant towards the strengthening and re-redevelopment of Lawson Field Theatre.

“This is tremendous news

“Planning is on track and this facility will be a great asset to our community.”

Mrs Tolley said the funding was part of round three of the regional culture heritage, which is for capital projects specifically benefiting regional arts, culture and heritage institutions.

Established in 2016 with $29,527 million in funding over three years, the fund is for capital projects specifically benefiting regional arts, culture and heritage institutions.

Two stages to upgrade

Mrs Tolley said Gisborne District Council was taking a two-staged approach to upgrading the theatre:

Stage one focused on upgrading the structure and strength of the building;

Stage two would ensure that the theatre was appropriately fitted out with interior facilities and equipment as a high-quality touring venue.

The grant was conditional on the council’s commitment to completing stage two of the project.

Lawson Field Theatre will increase the number and range of high-quality performing arts events possible on the East Coast.

“It will support both local productions and host more intimate touring performances,” she said.

“As a venue, the 280-seat Lawson Field Theatre provides a complimentary size option to the larger and recently- upgraded War Memorial Theatre which seats 500.

“In recent years we’ve seen the Tairawhiti Museum’s building upgraded, and the adjacent C Company Memorial House built — both with the assistance of Arts, Culture and Heritage.

“In 2015 the War Memorial Theatre reopened after being fully upgraded, and the new HB Williams Library project will soon be completed and open for business in mid-2018.”

Original budget

The council originally budgeted $1.1m to upgrade Lawson Field Theatre in the 2015-2025 long-term plan.

Further assessments of the building indicated earthquake-strengthening would cost more than estimated in 2014.

The War Memorial Theatre Trust, now devoted to working on Lawson Field Theatre, estimates another $2m is needed to top up the council’s original $1.1m. Some fundraising progress has been made.

The Lotteries Community Facilities Fund has awarded the Lawson Field Theatre a $350,000 grant for earthquake-strengthening improvements.

Other than earthquake strengthening, improvements include cladding, improved drainage, a firewall between the theatre and neighbouring council administration building, and renovations to backstage toilet and shower

The Lawson Field Theatre was opened in July 1983, made possible by community-raised funds.

The theatre is the council’s smaller flexible facility, intended to be accessible to a wide range of groups and activities, including performance, community and fundraising events, and weddings.

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