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War Memorial fundraising group brought in for Lawson Field Theatre

30 Jun 2017

War Memorial fundraising group brought in for Lawson Field Theatre

Council has agreed to a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the War Memorial Trust to help fundraising efforts for the earthquake strengthening and refurbishment of the Lawson Field Theatre.

The Trust was formed to raise funds for the upgrade of the War Memorial Theatre under a previous agreement with Council, which expired when the rebuild of the War Memorial Theatre was completed.

Liveable communities director Andrew White says the trustees have expressed that they are willing and enthusiastic about continuing fundraising efforts to see work on Lawson Field Theatre completed.

“This agreement will extend the scope of what the War Memorial Trust can do for all our theatres,” said Mr White.

Councillor Pat Seymour said “Trustees are happy to help with fundraising, but it is important to know the ultimate cost of the project, which is not yet available, in order to make all the necessary funding applications.”

Councillor Fenn reiterated the Council are grateful to trustees and for getting involved in this community asset.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Council and the Trustees was signed in 2012 to endorse the fundraising work of the Trust and clarify principles and responsibilities between parties.

Council originally budgeted $1m to upgrade Lawson Field Theatre in the current Long Term Plan 2015 – 2025. After further assessments of the building were done, it was discovered that the extent of earthquake strengthening was a lot more than estimated in 2014.

Fundraising progress already made

The Lawson Field Theatre refurbishment has already been awarded a grant by the Lotteries Community Facilities Fund for $350k to go towards earthquake strengthening improvements.

Local firm Architects 44 have also been engaged to design improvements on the theatre.

Improvements other than earthquake strengthening include:

  • Cladding
  • Improved drainage
  • A firewall between the theatre and the neighbouring Council administration building: Awarua
  • Renovations to the toilet and shower facilities

The Lawson Field Theatre was opened in July 1983. Made possible by local community raised funds. The Theatre is Council’s smaller flexible facility, aimed to be accessible for a wide range of groups and activities including performance, community and fundraising events and weddings.  

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