Stars speak out to save theatre

Stars speak out to save theatre

This is the last week for Kiwis to get behind and support Christchurch’s iconic Isaac Theatre Royal in the largest arts project by a New Zealand-based crowdfunding site ever.

The ‘Take the Stage’ campaign aims to raise at least $300,000 by Friday, 17 April to support the well-known theatre which reopened in February after undergoing 4 years of extensive rebuilding and restoration due to critical damage in the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.

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The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust will match every dollar donated.

Boosted, powered by Westpac, is hosting the ‘Take the Stage’ campaign which is being endorsed by well-known local and international figures such as Sir Ian McKellen, Richard O’Brien, Barnaby Weir, LA Mitchell, Laughton Kora, and Hayley Westenra.

Isaac Theatre Royal Chief Executive Neil Cox says, “It has been a long 4 years, and a hard fought battle to get the theatre to where it is today. We are extremely proud of the fact that during the entire rebuild programme we did not have to go out to the general public once to raise funds to actually complete the building. But now that task is complete and the Isaac Theatre Royal has reopened we have significant commercial loans to service for the foreseeable future and the success of this campaign will ensure we can continue to keep the theatre flourishing for generations to come.”

Sir Ian McKellen, who is a public face of the campaign, last performed on stage at the Isaac Theatre Royal in ‘Waiting for Godot’ in 2010.

“That was before the quakes struck and left that lovely old lady of a theatre, cracked and creaking, needing a full face-lift,” he says. “Backstage, our Godot poster and the remnants of our set which we left behind have survived in the wings.”

Actor Sam Neill says that he grew up with the Theatre Royal, and it was there and at the Repertory Theatre that his interest in the theatre really began, saying “I urge everyone who can, to contribute to its future, to raise money for such a beautiful and important piece of Christchurch.”

Donations can be made online at

SEE ALSO: Tractor trek for Choppers

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