Prior to closure, the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre was operated as a venue for hire.
The new operating model will actively programme performances, to cater for the wide interests of our community, including both local and touring shows. This programme will be supported by revenue generated from business events (like conferences, exhibitions and meetings) and food and beverages, ensuring affordable hire rates can be made available to our community.
A strategy is also being developed to ensure we are reaching and engaging with our community, programming the types of performances and shows that locals want to see, and providing the right information in the right places, about what’s on.
Performing arts director, Cian Elyse White, was employed in 2019 to start attracting and programming shows in the community, using alternative venues whilst the Sir Howard Morrison Centre is being strengthened and redeveloped. Cian has already initiated a new annual festival – Aronui – Rotorua Indigenous Arts Festival which takes place at a range of locations around the city. It is envisaged that the Sir Howard Morrison Centre will become Aronui’s home hub when the it reopens.
To prepare for reopening in 2022, two new staff have recently joined Cian in the performing arts team.
Katrina Chandra has a wealth of experience, from technical roles to director, for companies such as Bats, Taki Rua, Silo, Playmarket, Mangere Arts Centre and Snuff Puppets. She has toured work to many festivals around the world. She joins the team as the Programme Delivery Manager.
Kevin Greene has worked in the theatre industry for 20 years as a lighting designer and technical/ production manager, and has led technical departments in UK regional theatres. Since moving to New Zealand in 2017 he has worked for many organisations including Auckland Theatre Company and New Zealand Opera. Kevin joins the team as the new Technical Design & Delivery Lead.
As well as home grown shows and festivals, the team will also work to attract a range of one-off touring performances, bringing national and international performances to the heart of our city.