Theatre proposed to go inside centre

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A 1000-1200 seat theatre for musical concerts has been proposed to be built inside the Trafalgar Centre, to help attract more acts to the city.

The plan is a part of the draft annual plan that is expected to be adopted by the council on Thursday and open for submissions from March 11.

Mayor Rachel Reese says $400,000, along with some money in the long term budget for temporary seating and lighting, is proposed to be spent on facilities to allow the centre to be converted into a theatre for concerts and shows. But she insists it should not be seen as competition to the Theatre Royal, or a substitute for a performing arts centre.

“It’s not a substitute for a tiered seating auditorium. That’s a different project altogether. It’s a different market from the Theatre Royal and hopefully we’ll draw more events to Nelson.”

Rachel says the Trafalgar Centre has been a ‘major challenge’ for the council but she says it is important to make it as functional as possible.

“The opportunities around that space are great for trade events, and actually having a civic building that is finished and that works. In terms of the functionality of that building, we’ve looked at it a bit more, there has been some demand from event organisers for a 1000-1200 seat space, can we create that, and we think we can and the marginal cost for doing it we think is worthwhile.”

She says she still supports the idea of a separate performing arts centre for the region.

“The long term plan does have money in there looking at a performing arts centre and looking at the viability of that,” she says.

“I’m still interested in that and I know it’s one of the subjects where people say ‘we can’t afford it,’ but actually we always need to be looking at that and where we are going in the future. I feel sufficiently positive about this region and its future that it is right that we look at that project again.”

The Trafalgar Centre is due to open again after major earthquake strengthening work later this month.