Supporting Auckland’s Theatre District

The theatre district? There are fifteen theatres and thirteen cinema screens within a few minutes of this spot at the corner of Queen St and Wellesley St.

Many studies have shown the substantial socio-economic impact that a vibrant, well-communicated network of central cultural venues can have in wider urban transformation. With its densely-populated inner-city hub of theatres, art galleries and cinemas around Aotea Square, Auckland has the potential to become a leading cultural tourism destination in south-east Asia.

The importance of developing a ‘Theatre District’ in the existing ‘Aotea Quarter’ is recognised in the Draft Auckland City Centre Masterplan published in September 2011:

AOTEA QUARTER
The Aotea Quarter is the city’s civic centre and cultural, arts and entertainment hub: a vibrant place where the senses are indulged and creativity expressed, events are enjoyed and civic life participated in.
It is located in the Queen Street Valley and is edged by Mayoral Drive, Wellesley Street, Lorne Street and Khartoum Place.
The quarter is recognised for its cluster of cultural facilities, which include the Civic Theatre, Aotea Square, Aotea Centre, Auckland Town Hall, Auckland Central Library and the Auckland Art Gallery.
The gravitational pull of the Engine Room and waterfront for commerce will require the quarter to energise itself around its cultural, entertainment and arts offer and grow a closer relationship with the university campuses. The St James Theatre will be redeveloped as an important venue in a new ‘Theatre District’ Quarter.
The City Rail Link’s Aotea Station is proposed for the corner of Wellesley Street and Albert Street and will service the quarter. This makes a compelling case for developing and revitalising the Aotea Quarter. – Draft Auckland City Masterplan, September 2011, p.64

This workstream considers the existing landscape and options towards the creation of Auckland’s ‘Theatre District’ , and will run from August 2012 onwards.

Articles, reports and information will be posted on this workstream as it progresses. Please feel free to comment on this page or contact us if you have any questions or require any further information about this project.

Fifteen theatres within fifteen minutes

There are fifteen theatre spaces and thirteen cinema screens within 500 metres of ‘mid-town’ Queen Street in the heart of Auckland city, from a major Opera House to tiny studio theatres.

This represents a significant conurbation of theatres and cinemas – one that would be the envy of many cities around the world.

Their geographical proximity makes a compelling case for the creation of a landmark-branded theatre district.

The map below shows the location of the city theatres and cinemas. Click on an icon for more information about the venue.

You may wish to explore the map in a larger window.


In no particular order, the theatres and cinemas in the Theatre District are:

  1. The Civic Theatre (capacity 2378)
  2. The St James Theatre (dark, capacity c.1350)
  3. The SkyCity Theatre (dark, capacity 700)
  4. ASB Theatre @ Aotea Centre (capacity 2130)
  5. Herald Theatre @ Aotea Centre (capacity 184)
  6. The Great Hall @ Auckland Town Hall (capacity 1673)
  7. The Concert Chamber @ Auckland Town Hall (capacity 497)
  8. Rangatira @ Q Theatre (capacity 350 – 450)
  9. Loft @ Q Theatre (capacity 120)
  10. The Basement 1 (capacity 100)
  11. The Basement 2 (capacity 76)
  12. The Classic Comedy Theatre (capacity 140)
  13. The Classic Studio @ The Classic (capacity 40)
  14. The Maidment Theatre (capacity 448)
  15. The Musgrove Studio @ The Maidment (capacity 104)
  • 11 screens including IMAX at Event Cinemas
  • 2 screens at the Academy independent cinema

A number of publicly available reports exist about the future of this area. You can read the ones we’ve found below.All files are in PDF format.

Draft Auckland City Centre Masterplan, September 2011

Auckland professional performing arts venue study – needs analysis, 2011

Auckland Professional Performing Arts Venue Study 2007

Aotea Quarter Action Plan, 2010 – 2015

Auckland City Centre Masterplan – City Rail Link Growth, Move 5

Let us know your thoughts by contacting us or commenting below.

We’ll be continuing this workstream throughout 2012, working towards the creation of a theatre district for Auckland. Watch this space for more.

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