Government backs Gisborne's Lawson Field Theatre

  • Maggie Barry
Arts, Culture and Heritage

The Lawson Field Theatre in Gisborne is receiving a capital grant of more than $400,000 towards seismic strengthening.

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says the Gisborne District Council was forced to close the theatre last October due to its earthquake prone status.

“The theatre is a sought-after venue for local productions and smaller touring performances and has been much missed. This $417,513 grant from the Regional Culture Heritage Fund will help the Council complete pressing seismic strengthening work,” Ms Barry says.

“Having the theatre operational again broadens the range of cultural experiences on offer in Gisborne and will be a real boost to the community.”

“The grant is conditional on the Council’s commitment to completing stage two of the project which will see the interior facilities and equipment in the theatre upgraded to a high standard.”

Ms Barry has acknowledged the strong advocacy of local National MP Hon Anne Tolley for the work to be funded. 

Established in 2016 with $29.527 million in funding over three years, the RCHF is for capital projects specifically benefitting regional arts, culture and heritage institutions.

“These regional centres attract the economic and social benefits of new visitors, businesses and resident’s to New Zealand’s smaller towns and cities,” Ms Barry says.

Today’s announcement is from Round Three of the RCHF. Further information about the fund can be found at:

Previously announced grants in Round Two were:

  • $4 million to Hasting’s Hawke’s Bay Opera House Seismic Strengthening Project
  • $3 million to Whangarei’s Hundertwasser Art Centre Project
  • Just over $1 million to Foxton’s Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom Project
  • Just over $1 million to Stewart Island’s Rakiura Heritage Centre
  • $900,000 to Blenheim’s ASB Theatre for its Studio Theatre
  • $22,884 to Masterton’s Woolshed Heritage Centre.

In 2016, Round One recipients were:

  • $10 million to Wanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery – towards the redevelopment and seismic strengthening of its heritage-listed Queen’s Park building
  • $1.5 million towards the restoration of the Nelson School of Music’s auditorium
  • $1.5 million towards Whakatane’s Museum and Research Centre redevelopment,
  • $400,000 to the Whanganui Museum for its redevelopment
  • $368,000 towards Hamilton’s Meteor Theatre redevelopment and
  • $110,000 towards Gore’s Eastern Southland Gallery project to establish a Muka Studio Wing for its arts centre.