Musical company

Waikato Regional Theater takes shape with soon-to-be-announced operating company

Foster Construction’s work on the theater is now nearing the end of the demolition phase. Photo / Provided

The Waikato Regional Theater project is quickly taking shape – inside and out – as initial recruitment for the theater operating company is now nearly complete.

The operating company’s board of directors will be a combination of the directors of the Waikato Regional Property Trust (WRPT) and at least two dedicated directors with experience in theater management.

Recruitment for these latter positions is now complete, with an announcement of the appointments expected shortly.

Subscribe to Premium

The all-important position of general manager of the theater is currently advertised, with an appointment expected in a few months.

The General Manager will lead the completion of the theater’s equipment prior to opening and will provide artistic and marketing direction, the entertainment and events program, internal hospitality offerings, community activation and commercial success.

The WRPT was formed four years ago to eventually own the theater and its operating company and is chaired by engineer and construction manager Ross Hargood.

Meanwhile, work on the site is also progressing with Foster Construction now nearing the end of the demolition phase which included the dismantling of the old Hamilton Hotel, so that some elements could be incorporated into the new complex. This work lasted several months.

Heritage New Zealand continues to be involved in the construction process, as each newly discovered area reveals new information about the old building and its surroundings.

Chairman of the Waikato Regional Property Trust and Director of Construction, Ross Hargood.  Photo / Provided
Chairman of the Waikato Regional Property Trust and Director of Construction, Ross Hargood. Photo / Provided

Although the construction process is facing challenges due to the current supply and economic environment, the theater is still on track to open in mid-2024.

A facade support frame will soon be installed to support the street facade of the old building, and excavations for the foundations of the new Theater will begin.

At the same time, the details of the design work continue to be discussed as issues such as the movement of people and goods into and out of the building are more specifically refined.

Another area still in the early stages of planning is the redevelopment of Embassy Park where the much-loved statue of Riff Raff will return.

The WRPT, Foster and Hamilton City Council are currently discussing how they will collaborate on design features and how the contract parameters will work.

Once these discussions are complete, the formal design process can begin, including the collection of initial concept ideas.