Royal Friends Newsletter April 2011

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Looking forward to the next 103 years..!

Official Client & Media Statement, 1st April 2011


The Board and Management of Christchurch’s much-loved and historic Isaac Theatre Royal, the city’s prestigious heritage theatrical venue have confirmed today that based on current structural engineer’s assessments and aerial photographs of the venue obtained recently, the ‘Grand Old Lady’ of New Zealand Theatre will survive beyond 2011 to once again be the Premier venue for the theatrical arts industry in Christchurch’s rebuilt City Centre.

However, management also confirmed that the Theatre will be closed for all events until 31st October 2011 at this stage while remedial work is planned and undertaken. This date will be re-assessed in August based on progress of those works at that time.

Any premature statements as to the condition of the city’s historic Edwardian theatre venue have previously been delayed until detailed engineers reports on her overall status from were on hand. Encouragingly the most recent structural report confirmed; “The building, although moderately damaged, has performed extremely well in an event much greater than any strengthening was designed for”. Detailed assessments by engineers and other consultants are continuing but final reports are taking longer than expected while the strict CBD cordon restrictions remain in place.

Aerial view of ITR taken 27 Feb 2011

An extensive earthquake strengthening program of the building was completed in 1999 to much higher specifications than required at that time. A major $6.5M privately funded redevelopment in 2004/5 then upgraded the Theatre’s production & hosting facilities and capabilities to modern global standards. Thankfully the foresight of the Directors and Management of the Theatre Royal Charitable Foundation over those years have without doubt guaranteed her survival through one of one of the most devastating natural events in New Zealand’s modern history.

Isaac Theatre Royal is situated in Gloucester Street between Manchester & Colombo Streets as close to the middle of the cordoned off CBD ‘red-zone’ as can be… General Manager, Neil Cox said, “The goodwill & support we have received from the wider global entertainment world towards our city, our people and our Theatre has been astounding. We will draw on that good nature and support going forward to ensure Isaac Theatre Royal will be a shining light once again for performing arts in Christchurch”.

The catastrophic events of Tuesday 22nd February 2011 that devastated the city of Christchurch fell 3 days short of the Theatre’s 103rd birthday. Our city and our lives have changed forever but the Isaac Theatre Royal will continue to present a spectacular snapshot and historic reminder of the past century, entertaining the next few generations of proud Cantabrians and remaining the premier theatrical venue for the greater community of Christchurch.


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