Timaru’s Theatre Royal to be upgraded and new heritage facility built

  • Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
Prime Minister Arts, Culture and Heritage

The Government is supporting a major upgrade of Timaru’s iconic Theatre Royal and the construction of a new connected Heritage Facility museum and exhibition space with $11.6 million from the Government’s Infrastructure Fund, Jacinda Ardern announced today.

“We heard the call from the community and the council. The Theatre Royal is an iconic building and an integral part of the Timaru community and it will be wonderful to see it returned its former glory,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“The project met the criteria of the Government’s ‘shovel-ready’ programme in that it is ready to proceed and will create jobs. The design and construction of the theatre upgrade and new facility is estimated to directly employ 155-210 people.

“As we rebuild from Covid it’s critical we invest in local facilities that bring communities together and help tell local stories. The Government has made investments in theatres, galleries, pools and stadiums, and rebuilding these crucial facilities that hold communities together are an important strand of our shovel ready capital programme.”

“The Theatre Royal needed the upgrade as the back of house and stage house were significantly limiting the ability to host local and touring shows. The foyer area will be redeveloped so the venue can host a larger range of events.

“The project will also include the development of a new museum and exhibition space. The current South Canterbury Museum has significant space constraints which the new 1335-1400sqm facility will address.

“The new Heritage Facility will adjoin the Theatre Royal with integration, shared space and facilities between the two and will be an important addition to the cultural and community identity of South Canterbury.

“The Theatre Royal is currently entered on the NZ Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero as a Category 2 Historical place. I’m delighted the Government is contributing to the upgrade of this wonderful building,” Jacinda Ardern said.

The funding for the project comes from the $3 billion tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure. Overall, that Budget funding is expected to deliver more than 20,000 jobs across New Zealand and unlock investment with a project value of more than $5 billion.