Marlborough Express - Marlborough theatre project - it's time to move on

Columns
Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Marlborough's new theatre will be finished.

The Marlborough District Council has increased the ASB Theatre Marlborough's annual operating grant to $390,000.

The decision has been made and it is now time to move forward.

I was disappointed not to have been able to personally attend the council meeting, due to my commitments in Parliament.

However I watched Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman's speech on stuff.co.nz and I was impressed with the strong leadership he showed that day, as he has shown throughout this difficult matter.

As he said in that speech, this theatre is an asset to our community, and the way forward is to find constructive solutions to make it work here and now, and not to walk away.

What we have now is a fantastic, world-class facility that will benefit our region's art scene and our wider economy.

As I said in my last column here in the Marlborough Express, the theatre is already a clear success.

Productions and performers who would not have utilised the old theatre have been well-received by a great number of theatre-goers, some from out of town. The latter, along with visiting artists, have used our motels, our cafes and our shops. 

The benefits to our growing region are beyond question. To have seen this project fall over so close to the finish line would absolutely have been a great loss.

Let's not forget the other great, very successful, facilities that we enjoy in Marlborough which have received, and in some cases still receive, council support: Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000, Lansdowne Park, the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.

Like these projects, finishing this theatre was about looking at the bigger picture, about looking to the future.

The theatre itself is of a world-class standard and has received praise of the highest order, our own Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

It's a project has been 12 years in the making and I would like to thank the Marlborough Theatre Trust, led by chairman Kevin Moseley, for sticking to the task of seeing this huge, challenging project through.

The trust has worked - and continues to work - extremely hard to ensure this facility is something that is accessible to our whole community. 

I look forward to seeing the theatre completed and used to its full potential. It really is one of the things that make Marlborough such a great place to live.