Fortune Theatre closes

Dunedin's Fortune Theatre has announced its immediate closure.

Employees were told at 9am the theatre company would close today, with no further shows to be performed there.

Fortune Board of Trustees chairwoman Haley van Leeuwen said the board had been through an exhaustive process of reviews, and had closed the theatre because it was no longer financially viable.

The Fortune Theatre. Photo: ODT files
The Fortune Theatre. Photo: ODT files

According to its website it employed 11 permanent staff.

"We would like to acknowledge our staff during this difficult time who have worked hard towards the goal of securing the future of the theatre."

"We have looked at many different avenues to avert closure, however theatres and their audiences have changed over the years, and we must now take stock, with the goal of keeping the tradition of local professional theatre alive in Dunedin."

"Whatever future development arises it will be in a new format that represents the future model of theatre in New Zealand.

Fortune Theatre is New Zealand’s southernmost professional theatre and was established in 1974 at the Athenaeum in the Octagon.

It moved to its present location at the Trinity Methodist Church in 1978.

The Trinity Methodist Church building dates back to 1869. 

According to its website the theatre had two auditoriums, a mainstage which seated 227 people and its Murray Hutchinson Studio which seats 102.

It produced seven mainbill productions a year.

More in tomorrow's Otago Daily Times.

 

Comments

Dang. This is real blow for our vibrant and creative city. I, for one, would rather my taxes subsidised the existence of this vital space than any of the many other larger and unprofitable ventures that we have in Dunedin. Our city is a cradle for the arts - our university, our fashion community, our performers and musicians are all influenced by the simple existence of a space such as the Fortune. The Fortune gives a backbone, a flavour and an authenticity to our reputation as a city of the arts that other venues do not. For drama, for emerging artists, for New Zealand's creative professionals, the Fortune is a real, accessible and often accessible venue. If we let it go, without a plan to support its resurrection, I believe it will be to the detriment of the spirit and sense of our city. We have a wonderful reputation of being quirky, experimental, edgy, raw, academic, inclusive - the Fortune has undoubtedly contributed to that persona. If I won 10 million dollars next weekend, I would gift 9, 850,000 to the Fortune immediately. The rest I would spend on tickets to see their work over the duration of my lifetime. Dunedin, It's pheonix time for the Fortune. Not a moment to lose.

I'm saddened and stunned by the news - I doubt many people saw that coming. Best wishes to all the theatre staff: if I feel bereft at this loss, I can't imagine how you must be feeling.

Many wonderful performances seen in that building - I only wish my children were old enough to be able to say the same. The Fortune is simply unique in Dunedin and losing it is truly a tragedy.