Wellington’s Circa Theater offers new facade and faces council roadblock
Sebastian Bernhardt/Interior Design
Pictured is an artist’s first impression of the new Circa Theater facade, viewed from Wellington’s waterfront. Design is subject to change and funding, but features a light sculpture by Kayne Horsham.
from Wellington Circa Theater proposed a radical new facade at a cost of $2 million to capitalize on its waterfront location and also to combat persistent leaks.
But the Circa Councilwho helps run the theatre, says the project has stalled due to a $750,000 global proposal turned down by Wellington City Council.
“The building is in need of repairs due to increased water leakage from the harbor side. The plan is to do so, but to rebuild with something more welcoming,” Circa Theater said founding member Dame Carolyn Henwood.
But at a meeting on June 1, councilors turned down the request for funding on the recommendation of council officers. The Circa Council planned to raise the remaining $1.25 million needed, including through lottery funding.
Circa Theater in Wellington turns 45 this year – we’re joined in the studio by writer and actor Gavin Rutherford, director Susan Wilson and Circa co-founder Carolyn Henwood to look back – and to look forward to the role of the place in the cultural life of the capital.
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However, it is hoped that the project will continue, with agents recommending that they continue to work with Circa on its proposal and, depending on the outcome, present a future funding offer under the 2023/24 annual plan.
Councilors passed this motion and set aside $50,000 for Circa to develop a business case and feasibility study.
Henwood said Circa wanted to create a more impact-oriented theater and that changing its facade would help showcase the city’s talented artists who performed there. “It will look more impressive and attractive,” she said. “We are very excited.”
The design was subject to change, with architect Sebastian Bernhardt of firm Wellington Inside Design working with Henwood on it. Recent sketches show a dramatic outdoor seating area with a light sculpture by the artist Kayne Horsham, who invented the Kaynemaile architectural mesh.
“It looks like the roof, but you’re looking straight up at the sky,” Henwood said. “Kaynemaile hangs and waves in the breeze. It looks awesome at night. That’s wonderful. We think it will have a lot more impact.
This week, Henwood met with city officials to refine the proposal and said it was a positive and productive meeting. Officials were primarily concerned about an outside seating area as it was council owned land. But Henwood was confident the issues could be resolved over time.
“We are having a dream with this facade on the port side… The whole building looks a bit like a hodgepodge [currently].”
Wellington City Councilor Diane Calvert said it was a shame there had been misunderstandings by council with the project, but ultimately the new facade would add to the vibrancy of the waterfront and the would make it more inviting.
Calvert said the board could have handled the process better. “[The] bureaucracy is difficult at the best of times. Circa was part of a cultural hub with Te Papa and takinashe said, and was part of the cultural fabric of the waterfront and the city.
Councilor Nicola Young said while the design was fantastic, the timing was “awful”, with continued concern over rising fares in Wellington and delays caused by shortages of construction workers and lack of construction materials. construction.
“[Wellingtonians] have so many financial demands. …People are struggling with inflation and the cost of living. But it is certainly not excluded for the future.
An update on the project would be presented to council later this year.