Begging for it: Lyttelton theatre company’s bold plan to rebuild (+Video)

Begging for it: Lyttelton theatre company’s bold plan to rebuild (+Video)

The Loons have become a Lyttelton institution. The super creative performing artists have been entertaining crowds for years with their fusion of circo arts, drama, physical theatre, and burlesque.

For many years in the 2000s, the Loons were very active in the community, teaching local school children the magic of theatre, and holding many successful fundraisers for good causes.


All good things…

However, as it did for many Cantabrians, tragedy struck in 2010 and 2011.

The Loons’ theatre was damaged beyond repair and Creative Director Mike Friend and his incredible team were left without a home to rehearse and perform.

“It was really working, and then the bloody earthquakes came along,” Mike says.

SEE ALSO: Dunedin musician ‘Boosted’ to success

“Without a venue we don’t have a home, we have nowhere to meet, nowhere to rehearse, we have nowhere to create new work. There is no incentive for us to get together because of the cost of hiring studios and rehearsal spaces. So basically the company has separated and we are all just waiting.”

But from tough times, truly great things can come.

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A new future

The quakes also did major damage to Lyttelton Main School and Lyttelton West School, so the two primaries merged to become a new school, Lyttelton Primary, being opened in term 4 of this year.

This presented a great opportunity to build something new and amazing.

Partnering the Loons with the Ministry of Education and Lyttelton Primary, a dual facility school hall and theatre has been built on the new school’s campus.

The Ministry of Education will fund the building, and the Loons Theatre Trust is raising the money to fit the space out with retractable seating, staging, lighting, and sound rigs.

When the new performance space opens in June 2016, it will be home to the Loons, which means the live theatre spectaculars the Loons are famous for will return to Christchurch.

But it gets even better. In addition, the space will be used by children to learn drama and dance as part of the Loons in Schools educational programme.

Diana Feary, principal of Lyttelton Primary, explains: “Mike and the Loons bring a special dimension to both Lyttelton and our school with the role they play in making drama live for our children. We value our partnership and look forward to its continued growth.”

The new theatre will also be a much needed performance venue for touring arts companies, international acts, live music, community events, and school theatre.


Begging for it

From now until 4 November, the Loons will be running a Boosted crowdfunding campaign called ‘Begging for it’ to raise $70,000 so the theatre can have amazing retractable seating.

Fitting out a theatre is not cheap, as the Loons Theatre Trust must raise $392,000 in total for it. They have currently raised almost $170,000 including funding received from The Todd Foundation, Christchurch Earthquake Appeals Trust, and the Lion Foundation.

A successful Boosted campaign will make the dream of having a new, world class home for the Loons and their students that much closer.

SEE ALSO: Dunedin musician ‘Boosted’ to success

About Boosted

Boosted Logo

Boosted is New Zealand’s crowdfunding platform for the arts. Backed by the Arts Foundation, Boosted helps artists get their projects off the ground and into the real world.

When an artist has an idea that needs money to bring it to life, they work closely with the Boosted team to develop a campaign strategy and determine a clear financial target.

Once the campaign is live, if someone likes the look of the project they can boost it by donating as little or as much as they like.

Take a look at some of the current Boosted projects. Who knows, maybe you’ll see something you’d like to back.