ITR Earthquake Update December 2011


StaircaseThe Earthquakes of 4th September, 26th December 2010 and 22nd February, 13th June and 23rd December 2011 caused widespread damage to the city of Christchurch and presented the whole Canterbury region of New Zealand with enormous challenges.

From our own perspective, with emergency securing work still being completed post the 23rd December events, the updated timeline for the program of repair, restoration and enhancement work required to bring the Isaac Theatre Royal back to full recovery and beyond is estimated to be completed sometime in the first half 2013, with a possibility that the target date could potentially move forward to the early part of 2013 should we suffer no further delays due to this constantly ground-moving slice of history we are currently experiencing!

So what state are we in?

The Theatre is structurally sound and fully repairable/restorable. Various GeoTech reports have proved the land underneath is good for rebuilding and we can now begin the very necessary re-strengthening required to bring the building up to new code compliance.

The Theatre sustained extensive interior and exterior damage from the February quake and further exposure to the elements in June causing subsequent erosion to parts of the Heritage fabric around the proscenium arch, which partially collapsed but has now been secured in readiness for repair.

What repairs are required?

The repair task is major with the stage, auditorium floors, ceilings and interior plaster work all requiring replacement or repair. Our orchestra pit requires a complete rebuild and re-tanking, and our administration offices require partial deconstruction and eventual relocation.


On the positive side however, we will be using the downtime to also upgrade certain areas of the Theatre both for necessary technical enhancement and public access/exit redesign, as well as increasing foyer space and function areas on each level. The top level Gallery will be completely re-fitted and the Theatre’s Heritage façade will be completely re-strengthened and then restored to its original 1908 appearance.

There is a LOT of work ahead but our collaborative recovery team of the dedicated ITR Board, project managers RCP, Holmes Consulting, Naylor Love, Warren & Mahoney, Hang Up Ent, Powell Fenwick, Planit Associates, Neil Pritchard, Tony Ussher and various others are working closely with our insurers VERO, TPA Godfreys, CERA, the Christchurch City Council, Ministry of Culture & Heritage, NZ Historic Places Trust and all their various associates to ensure we will present the safest and most spectacular live performance Theatre in NZ when the work is finally completed.

What happens next?

So unfortunately our Grand Old Lady will undergo an extensive recuperation period and although most vital repairs are covered by our comprehensive insurance policy, some specific FUNDRAISING will be required to potentially re-strengthen and upgrade/enhance certain areas of the building to achieve Isaac Theatre Royal’s complete restoration and revival. It makes sense to undertake as much work as we can to bring the Theatre back to its highly rated international standards while we have this long period of closure.

Key project fundraising over the months to come will help ensure that when she eventually re-opens, she does so in the style and grandeur she has always been accustomed and our many thousands of clients and patrons around the country and world expect. I hope you and your families are keeping safe through these difficult times and we look forward to your support and patronage over the months and years to come. We WILL see you back in supreme style one day in the not too distant future at the restored and historic ITR.