Handover facilitates funding

Dunedin Opera Company chairman Murray Davidson hands the keys of the Mayfair Theatre to Mayfair Theatre Charitable Trust chairman Geoff Patton, in front of (from left) Dunedin Opera Company treasurer Peter Russell and deputy chairwoman Mary Dixon, and Mayfair Theatre trustees Tom Ross, John Collier and Bruce Collier. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Dunedin Opera Company chairman Murray Davidson hands the keys of the Mayfair Theatre to Mayfair Theatre Charitable Trust chairman Geoff Patton, in front of (from left) Dunedin Opera Company treasurer Peter Russell and deputy chairwoman Mary Dixon, and Mayfair Theatre trustees Tom Ross, John Collier and Bruce Collier. Photo by Craig Baxter.

Maximising funding opportunities is behind a decision to change the ownership of the Mayfair Theatre in South Dunedin.

The theatre has been administered by the Dunedin Opera Company since 1967 but ownership of the facility was officially handed over yesterday to the newly established Mayfair Theatre Charitable Trust.

Dunedin Opera Company chairman Murray Davidson said running the theatre and the opera company had at times divided the focus of the organisation, because the theatre and the opera company required funding from the same charity organisations.

Only one application for funding could be sent by each organisation and in the past, it had meant the Dunedin Opera Company had to choose whether it would make a funding application for the opera or the theatre.

Mayfair Theatre Charitable Trust chairman Geoff Patton said having a dedicated group to run the Mayfair as a community theatre meant the trust could now apply for funds to restore, develop and earthquake-strengthen the facility from the same charity organisations as the Dunedin Opera Company.

Mr Davidson said he was delighted with the change.

''In some ways, it means we can focus on our core purpose - opera.''

Mr Patton said it was the theatre's centenary this year and the trust was now busy planning a series of events to celebrate the milestone during the year ahead.

The theatre was opened in December 1914 as the 862-seat King Edward Picture Theatre, but was closed in September 1966.

It was bought by the Dunedin Opera Company in 1967 and has since been registered as a category 2 New Zealand Historic Places Trust building.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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