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During deliberations on the Dunedin Council's 10-year plan yesterday, Cr Aaron Hawkins moved a motion to set aside $95,000 a year for the next three years for professional theatre in the city from the council's civic grant budget.
No new money would be needed as the funding would come from an existing grants budget which the Fortune Theatre had been given money from in the past, Cr Hawkins said. There was still a theatre industry with skilled people who needed to be retained in the city, he said.
By securing money for professional theatre the council ensured other avenues of funding such as Creative New Zealand was still available for organisations in Dunedin, he said.
The $95,000 would be a stopgap measure until a more permanent future home for professional theatre in the city was found, Cr Hawkins said.
''The idea professional theatre would not exist in the interim would be a travesty for a Unesco City of Literature.''
Councillors voted 14 to 1 to support the motion. Cr Lee Vandervis voted against it because he said there was no clear understanding of how the money would be spent.
Cr Marie Laufiso said there was already insufficient money in the grants budget for all the requests it received, so the proposal was the best way to ensure professional theatre continued in the city.
''Most people know I'm a self-confessed philistine but for me this is about leadership and trusting our community who tell us this money will be well spent,'' Cr Laufiso said.