Archive for the ‘Performance Venues’ Category

Rangiora Town Hall Strengthening and Extension About to Start

24 May 2013

Town HallAlthough work was actually authorised and budgeted for a year ago, the Waimakariri Council has just considered submissions to this year’s Annual Plan and has further approved the work. It is hoped to call for tenders in July.  Expressions of interest from construction companies have already been received and there has been an impressive response.

Nearly half the cost of $11.5m will go towards strengthening the existing building, including anchoring the old part to the new extension.

The additions have received the approval of a heritage architect and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.  This was necessary because it is a Category 2 Historic Building.

The auditorium will receive some upgrading, such as a new orchestra pit and audience seating, but will essentially remain as it is. What the extension will give the community is a flexible 150-seat smaller theatre alongside, greatly improved backstage facilities for performers and crews (the current facilities are awful), much better foyer space both upstairs and downstairs, better toilets for audiences and four smallish rooms that can be used for music tuition, meetings, etc. The movie theatre will be moved downstairs. untitled

While the extensions will take up some of the car-park space, we need to remember that the Council car-park is only 2-3 minues walk away – and it is largely empty in the evenings when most large Town Hall events occur. There is now a footpath beside the driveway connecting the Council car-park with King Street.

Thousands of people used the Town Hall every year before it was closed, either as performers or audiences. This upgrade will meet their needs a lot better. The enhancemen of the town Hall will also help in the revitalisation of the Rangiora Town Centre.




“Market Forces” Looks Like a Great Show!

8 October 2012

“Blood Brothers” Has a Great Opening Night

16 March 2012

The Blood Brothers opening night got a stand-up ovation from a very full Chervier Centre in Rangiora last night.  I have to confess that we knew nothing about the show beforehand (even although there is a billboard on my fence!) but Marilyn and I throroughly enjoyed ourselves.  The production was professional and fast-paced.

Well done, too, to the North Canterbury Musical Society for going ahead with the show despite the closure of the Rangiora Town Hall.  The Chervier Centre works well, although there must be a lot of constraints.

Flaxwood Festival was not to be Missed

27 February 2012

The recent Flaxwood festival in Flaxton was a great afternoon.  Carolyn Schuitman and her team did a great job rasing a lot of money for a variety of charities, including the Woolston Brass – who, incidentally, are as good a Big Band as you’ll find anywhere.








Rangiora Town Hall Proposals Announced

31 January 2012

The Council has announced its proposals for the earthquake-prone Rangiora Town Hall.  They are part of the Long Term (10 Year) Plan due to go out for public consultation and timed for the first year of that Plan, starting in July this year.

The proposal is as I signalled in an earlier post on this blog.  It involves strengthening the existing building to at least 67% of new building standard, part of that being brought about by building a new addition around the west and south of it.  The new addition will include a smaller performance space with a more versatile flat floor. The seating in it will not be fixed. The movie theatre will be brought downstairs and will also be more versatile in that it will be able to be used for other kinds of presentations as well as movies. It is proposed that there will be toilets and dressing rooms (the current dressing rooms are under the stage) for cast and crew, as well as practice rooms for music. There will be storage areas as well.

Part of the proposal is to enlarge the foyer along the front of the Town Hall, incorporating a new front door coming in off High Street. Upstairs, the area where the movie theatre was will be turned into a reception area.  The upper floor will, of course, be serviced by a lift.

It needs to be emphasised that this is not a final decsiion and there are, of course, alternatives.  The Long Term Plan will be out for public feedback soon.

The Town Hall was scheduled for a major revamp in a year’s time, but has been brought forward because of its current closure.

Oxford Town Hall Proposal for Public Consultation

26 January 2012

As part of its Long Term Plan, the Waimakariri District Council is to consult with the wider community on the future of the earthquake-prone Oxford Town Hall.

One idea that will be discussed is whether to build a new one that would include the functions of the Pearson Park Pavilion, also earthquake prone. 

Relocated to the Pearson Park area, it would then be possible to combine the funding that it is proposed to allocate for earthquake-strengthening of both buildings: $2m for the Town Hall and $150,000 for the pavilion.

Options for the Rangiora Town Hall

21 January 2012
The Town Hall in earlier days

On the face of it, there are a number of options before the community when it comes to fixing the earthquake-prone buikding – it is currently assessed at 28% of new building standard.

However, the existing Long Term Plan, consulted on and confirmed in 2009, already projects a major development of the Town Hall.  This includes earthquake-strengthening the existing building, and building around it on the southern and western sides new dressing rooms and toilets for performers and crew, a smaller and more flexible performance space, shifting the movie theatre downstairs and enlarging the foyer.  There would be a new entrance into that foyer off High Street, and there would be a reception area upstairs where the movie theatre now is.  There would also be storage of costumes and props, along with practice rooms for music students and the like.  A lift will need to be installed for disabled access upstairs.
What is wrong with the existing building?
There is only one toilet backstage, and that is on the stage itself!  During performances, cast and crew have to come outside the building and run around the to the front door to use the toilet off the foyer! I think we all know that the foyer is hopelessly small.  In addition, there is a real shortage in the District of middle-sized performance spaces.
Are there alternatives? Well I guess there are, ranging from knocking it down and building nothing to replace it, to knocking it down and building something brand new.  The latter would be the strongest solution from an earthquake-resistance point of view, and while it is probably the most expensive option (if it included the above add-ons), the Council is seeking an update on the likely costs of doing this. 
In addition to this, the Council has been talking to Kaiapoi High School about upgrading their auditorium to provide an improved performance space there.
The pressure has obviously come on because of the closure of the Town Hall and forced the council to consider advancing its plans.
All, however, comes up for discussion as part of the Long Term Plan process.  The Council is about to prepare a draft, which will go out for consultation next month.

Should the Oxford Town Hall be Replaced?

12 January 2012

The Oxford Town Hall will cost a lot to bring it up to an earthquake rating of 67% of new building standard.  It is currently closed because it is rating is about 25%.

Some in the community are saying that it would be better to build a more modern building, possibly somewhere else.

You will be hearing more about this!

This Week!

5 July 2010

A Grand Old Lady Gets a Landmarks Plaque

27 May 2010

The Rangiora Town Hall received a “Landmarks” Plaque today – 84 years to the day after it was opened.  Somewhat controversial at the time (what’s new?) it now generates a lot of enthusiasm amongst many locals. It is one of the very few theatres of its type left in New Zealand.

The plaque was unveiled by Malcolm McIntosh (left), great nephew of the mayor of the time, Robert McIntosh (his wife Robina performed the actual opening in 1926). Robert was one of the two McIntosh brothers who were mayors of Rangiora and Kaiapoi at the same time.

As you can see, the plaque has yet to be fixed.  The wet weather has meant that the necessary adhesives might not work!

The unveiling featured songs from the 1920s sung by the North Canterbury Musical Society Singers (conducted by Gail Fox), speeches from Dave Sanderson of the Musical Society and from the current and former movie theatre operators, Patrick Walsh and Fred Read.  Yours truly added a few historical details.

Outside, there were a couple of Model A Fords supplied by Peter Bayler and Alan Hill. 

The grand old lady holds lots of stories and some were relayed by people present today.  It was a good way to celebrate one of the District’s notable buildings.

The Colour of the Rangiora Town Hall

15 January 2010

Confession: I like it!

Admittedly, the colour of the Town Hall polarises locals: people either love it or hate it.  There don’t seem to be many who are neutral!  This means that to go back to the previous cream colour or something like that would probably be equally polarising.

One thing is for sure: more than anything else, the Town Hall since it went to red and blue, has become Rangiora’s signature building.

In the words of one of the committee that originally chose the colour: “She’s a grand old lady and we’re going to dress her up!”

Chess is Coming!

20 August 2009


“Casablanca” – an oldie but a goodie

24 July 2009

225px-Casablanca_original_film_posterThe Dudley Aquatic Centre fundraisers put on “Casablanca” in the Rangiora Town Hall this evening, with some of them dressed up in appropriate 1940s costume.

Once again, a great community event.  Congratulations to the Committee and to Patrick Walsh of the Rangiora Movie theatre for putting it on.

I had never seen the movie before and I can report that after an uneven start, it turned into a pretty good one, well deserving its reputation as a classic.

Another Show at the Rangiora Town Hall – Now On!

8 July 2009


Funding for Performance Venue(s) Stays In

18 May 2009

The $5m (including $1m public fundraising) for a performance venue or venues has stayed in the Council’s 10-Year Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) for 2013-14.

An additional amount of $50,000 for investigative work in the coming year has been substanially reduced because it was felt by a majority of councillors (and by many submitters) that much of this work has already been done in prevuous investigations.

Rangiora Town Hall

There is a strong expectation within the community that a significant amount needs to be spent on upgrading and enhancing the Rangiora Town Hall.  One of two Town Halls in the District (the other is Oxford’s – see Corners of Waimakariri in the Categories to the right), there is a lot of affection for the old lady and it is without doubt the most important performance venue that we currently have.

She is worth fighting for!

Performance Venues – All May Not Be As It seems

12 February 2009

As you may have seen in the Northern Outlook, the Council in its draft Ten Year Plan is proposing an immediate $50,000 to investigate and develop concept plans for performance venues in the District.  It has also put in, for 2013-14, $5m (including $1m of community fundraising) for venue development.

Note that 2013-14 is after the next election and after the next Ten Year Plan. It is by no means guaranteed, but the Council is obliged to act in good faith when signalling future expenditure to the community.rangiora-town-hall

 The money is not necessarily directed towards the Rangiora Town Hall.  The investigation will include other parts of the District, obviously Kaiapoi, and what is investigated in Rangiora will include Rangiora High School.

Nevertheless, it is clear to most locals that the Rangiora Town Hall is the venue that should be developed in Rangiora.  It is totally inadequate for modern productions like last year’s Les Mis by the North Canterbury Musical Society and such productions simply cannot happen in schools.  NCMS, for instance, was working in the Town Hall for two months for Les Mis.  Take it from a former Deputy Principal: no school can work around that!

Having said that, I am totally in support of developing a decent performance venue in Kaiapoi.  Quite simply, the town needs one.  If the Kaiapoi High School auditorium fits the need after an upgrade of its facilities, that would certainly be a good option.

The question is however, will the money allocated for 2013-14 be enough for two venues?

One piece of good news – the portacom proposal has gone!

Breaking News: Portacom Site Selected!

19 December 2008

The site for Waimakariri’s latest Portacom has been selected.  Designed to complement the Rangiora Town Hall’s neo-classical design, the Portacom is intended to provide dressing rooms and toilets for performers.

Given the speed at which successive councils have made progress on the long-overdue upgrade of the Town Hall, the Portacom is expected to attract the interest of future archaeologists.


The site for the Portacom - views will be excellent from King Street

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