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Mayor kick-starts challenge for last $200,000 for grand old theatre

21 July 2005

Christchurch Mayor Garry Mayor has given $10,000 towards the last $200,000 needed for the redevelopment of the Isaac Theatre Royal, while laying down a challenge to city businesses to “get in behind” and match or better that amount.

“The opening of the Isaac Theatre Royal has been embraced convincingly by the people of Christchurch because, not only have they saved the old girl, but she’s looking all dressed up in her finery.
“I challenge city businesses to match or better the Council’s $10,000 contribution because it’s important that the last $200,000 is raised. When we sit there in the seats taking in the culture of Christchurch, we want to be sitting in a place that’s debt-free,” Mr Moore says.

The Council, which presented the $10,000 at its Council meeting today, had kick-started the funds. Now it was up to other businesses who would benefit from the top-billing shows that the grand old theatre would attract, to step up to the mark and make a donation, Mr Moore says.
 “There are good economic reasons to do so. It’s estimated that the redeveloped theatre will bring about $1.7m annually to Christchurch through accommodation, food, beverages and transport, alone. That’s not counting the $6m a year from increased ticket sales,” he says.

Dame Ann Hercus, chairwoman of the Project Theatre Royal team that successfully raised the initial $6.1m estimated 12 months ago for the extensive refurbishment project, says she is thrilled that the people of Christchurch are so pleased with the re-opened Isaac Theatre Royal. 

“It’s a great investment for Christchurch not only as a fabulous venue for major top-line national and international shows, but it will attract people who flock to those shows from other parts of New Zealand and overseas.
“Every hotel, restaurant, shopping mall, taxi company, and retailer that will benefit from that should be part of this final push to make the theatre debt-free,” Dame Ann says.

The last $200,000 needed is a result of cost revisions on the original estimate of $6.1m, which Dame Ann says she has every confidence will be covered by other generous donations.

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