The Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch has been awarded a prestigious prize at the Canterbury Heritage Awards.
The 2016 Awards Ceremony was held on Thursday 9 June in the newly restored Great Hall at Christchurch’s Arts Centre, and was attended by a sold-out crowd of heritage enthusiasts. The awards recognise excellence in heritage retention and conservation, heritage tourism and heritage education within the public and private sector and promote the values of best practice heritage retention and conservation to the wider community.
The restoration of the Isaac Theatre Royal was “testament to the combined skills and dedication of architects and engineers, conservators and craftspeople”, the judges said. Voted as joint winner in the category, the Isaac Theatre Royal reopened in November 2014 after a 3-year rebuild and restoration programme following the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes.
The ‘new’ theatre has been breaking audience records in its first year of operation staging musicals “Phantom of the Opera” and ‘Mamma Mia”, three magnificent Royal New Zealand Ballet sold out seasons and the first sold out Opera in Christchurch in 28 years with NZ Opera’s “Madama Butterfly” last July. The ITR also brought cinema back to the venue for the first time in 35 years in partnership with the NZ International Film Festival.
Occupancy days since reopening have increased on pre-quake years by as much as 40% and 2017 and 2018 seasons are set to increase those numbers once again with the theatre’s event management system filling up and taking bookings as far out as 2021.