Extra money sought for Regent Theatre

More money is being sought for the Regent Theatre. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
More money is being sought for the Regent Theatre. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The Dunedin City Council is being asked to commit another $70,000 a year to the Otago Theatre Trust so it can meet the extra costs it faces since the redevelopment of the Regent Theatre.

The trust officially receives $59,200 a year from the council's events and community development budget, but it received a one-off $30,000 grant from the council this financial year.

The council owns the building. The Otago Theatre Trust operates and maintains the theatre, although the council has increasingly been contributing funding to ensure the building is maintained at an acceptable level.

It now receives $100,000 a year from the council's city property budget, to cover building insurance, warrant of fitness and mechanical maintenance, although a deed with the trust says the council is responsible for exterior maintenance only.

City property also pays the theatre's rates of $60,500, although that is offset by a rates relief grant to the trust of $15,876, and meets loan charges and depreciation costs associated with the building.

The arrangement between the council and the trust is partially documented in a service level agreement and partially in a deed.

Council community arts adviser Cara Paterson said staff proposed to update the service level agreement by July this year so it clearly outlined all the roles and responsibilities of the trust, the events and community development and city property departments.

Staff had already included an extra $30,000, matching the one-off grant given by the council this year, in the draft 2014-15 budget, but recommended the council top that up by a further $40,000.

For the past three years, the trust had indicated the current level of support was not adequately matching increased costs, especially compliance costs related specifically to the redevelopment of the theatre in 2011, she said.

She noted other cities covered the operational costs of their premiere theatres.

In Invercargill, for example, the Civic Theatre was council-owned and managed and funded 30% by user charges and 70% by rates.

The $59,200 officially provided by the council through the trust's service level agreement equated to about 5.75% of the trust's total operating costs.

The trust had managed to cope over the years due to a large volunteer contingent that worked on every level at the theatre, but that could not necessarily be relied on into the future, Ms Paterson said.

Councillors will consider the request as part of the pre-draft annual plan meeting starting today.


Sorry kiwip but Mike had me sold on 'The Regent is asking for less than 1% of what the stadium loses every year'. Talk about bang for your buck.

Looking down on it

If you count One News weather, The Regent is on national tv almost nightly. You know, the Kubrick long shot overhead pov from FSB, narration by 'Karen'.

read my comment again to discover who is dumb...

Reading the same inane comments week in and week out by the same six people in ODT forums does not constitute "...feature in news bulletins, or in casual comments in the media..."  I am referring to articles in both international and national media outlets, I read news articles on around four different websites on top of the ODT website daily and can't recall any referencing the comments you have made, instead they tend to be glowing about the Forsyth Barr Stadium and what a fantastic facility it is.

As for no profile at all, that would work wonders in terms of attracting people to our city wouldn't.   If we want people to be aware of our fair city and it's fantastic facilities a profile comes in quite handy, as long as it isn't one that revolves an anti-progress, negative minority of six people. 

Time to stop

Kiwip: I was simply pointing out that Regent seems to be a far better run, more thrifty organisation, no sending employees on overseas junkets at our expense, no bankrolling ORFU black tie fundraisers.

If the stadium cost as little to run as the Regent does (including capital costs) I'd  have no problem with it. The difference of course is that when the Regent holds a private fundraising round real people actually give real money rather than just promises - we're still waiting for the ORFU and its members to raise that $55m in private fundraising we were promised, instead they continue to expect the rest of us to subsidise their game tickets. It has to stop, this flushing of good money after bad down the rugby stadium.

Dumb and dumber

Kiwip, when you say "Do events at the Regent feature on national/international news? Lifting the profile of our city..." you have missed one important factor. The Regent may not feature in news bulletins, or in casual comments in the media, but that's good compared with the Fubar Stadium. Haven't you noticed how the stadium, and Dunedin's huge debt, and dissatisfaction with sound quality at concerts, are what is mentioned these days, now that the novelty of the venue having a roof has worn off and other aspects have come to light?

I think we would gain more from having no profile at all, than Dunedin being a byword for massive debt, an empty building that forces the percentage rates rise higher than the rise in most ratepayers' income. You may think otherwise, and perhaps we need a new tourism slogan: "Come and watch ratepayers' money being chucked down a bottomless pit in Dumb-nedin!"


Come on Mike - apples with apples. You haven't complained about the rate relief, the fact that it isn't profitable or even that there is absolutely no mention of rent in this article. How about asking a few questions...

Is there any financial return to the city from this facility?

How many people does it attract to the city each year to spend money in local businesses?

Do people travel from all over the country and world to watch events at the Regent? I know they travel to the Stadium to do so.

Do events at the Regent feature on national/international news? Lifting the profile of our city...

Perhaps you are showing your true colours in terms of anti-sport - happy to criticise anything to do with sport but won't say boo about the arts needing money...just because you don't like something doesn't mean others aren't allowed to...

Just 1%

The Regent is asking for less than 1% of what the stadium loses every year, ratepayer surveys show that more of us use it. It's obviously far better run than the stadium and a bargain at the cost. 

So you need extra funding?

That's hardly a problem Theatre Trust, under this current council, we simply increase rubbish tip rates . . .

Anyone else need funding?


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