The Court Theatre is privileged to have received a momentous gift from The Stewart family as part
of the APPLAUSE Campaign to create the new Court Theatre in central Ōtautahi Christchurch.
This donation, made to honour Dame Adrienne Stewart’s 30-year plus support of The Court
Theatre, is the largest private donation The Court Theatre has received in its 52-year history, and
demonstrates Dame Adrienne’s commitment, passion, investment and advocacy for The Court
The heart of the new Court Theatre is an auditorium of 375 seats, over three levels, all designed
with the audience experience in mind. It is this space that will be recognised as The Stewart Family
“The Stewart Family’s support of The Court Theatre throughout the years has been a tremendous
example of personal giving in terms of their time, talent, and treasures” says APPLAUSE Campaign
Chair Steve Wakefield. Not only have they been significant supporters, attendees and advocates of
the Theatre but Sir Robertson and Dame Adrienne have played integral roles as Patrons of The
Friends of The Court Theatre for over thirty years.
Dame Adrienne Stewart has been quoted as saying "No city can survive without the arts," and she
has ensured that Christchurch has not had to. “Whether as a patron, benefactor or board member,
she has created and supported artistic environments that have enabled creativity to flourish,
especially within the theatre” says Court Theatre Chief Executive Barbara George.
The gift comes at a time when The Court Theatre’s return to the centre of the city is becoming a
physical reality, with construction underway.
“It is both joyful and humbling to receive this substantial financial support from Dame Adrienne
and her family towards the vision of the new Court Theatre in the heart of our city again” says
George. “We are immensely proud to carry the Stewart name into our new home. Here, in the
heart of Ōtautahi, we will continue to make world-class theatre for Aotearoa to enjoy.”
Fundraising for new theatre moves to next stage!
The Court Theatre’s new home in the central city has reached a major milestone as the launch of a
new phase of fundraising – the TAKE YOUR SEAT campaign - invites members of the public to stake
a claim in the theatre.
Earlier this year the foundations of the new Court Theatre were poured, launching the construction
phase of the new theatre. When completed in 2024, the final theatre will house several
performance spaces, including an auditorium of 375 seats, The Stewart Family Theatre.
In the TAKE YOUR SEAT phase of its fundraising for the new theatre, The Court is inviting people to
literally make the theatre their own by securing a personalised plaque on an auditorium theatre
seat for ten years.
TAKE YOUR SEAT is part of the overall capital campaign, called APPLAUSE, which has already raised
an impressive $10.8 million. However, as construction costs for the new build have increased, so
has the Theatre’s own required contribution. It now has a new goal of $12 million to achieve, and
TAKE YOUR SEAT is the next stage in that campaign.
“The immensely generous support we have received so far shows that people recognise the
importance of the performing arts to the heart and soul of our city” says Court Theatre Chief
Executive Barbara George. “We have no doubt that many of the people who come every year to
experience some of the best theatre in Aotearoa on our stages will be keen to take ownership of
this new theatre, figuratively and literally.”
A donation of $1,500 secures a personalised plaque for ten years and enables supporters to take a
place in the Theatre’s ever-evolving history, whilst supporting the theatre and the many people
who create the experiences it creates.
“This new theatre space will be home to some of the best theatre in the country, and it will be a
space that our community can access for its own use” says George.
Along with other projects within the Performing Arts Precinct, the new Court Theatre will play a key
role in supporting Christchurch’s ever-expanding cultural scene. When complete, the three-storey
building will include the main auditorium as well as a second theatre, an education studio and
several multipurpose spaces which will ensure a full range of theatre experiences are available for
everybody. All spaces have been designed with the audience experience, and sustainability, in
mind. Together they will ensure that generations of the diverse communities within Ōtautahi can
enjoy theatre, the arts, performance, education, and hospitality for years to come.
Click here to TAKE YOUR SEAT