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Doors opening soon on Blenheim’s new theatre space

Doors opening soon on Blenheim’s new theatre space
The new Anderson Theatre further enhances the state-of-the-art facilities on offer at the multi-purpose venue.

Blenheim’s ASB Theatre Marlborough, which opened in March 2016, is soon to gain a flexible new theatre space. Called the Anderson Theatre, the black box studio theatre will lend itself to boutique productions and concerts and represents the final stage of the multifunctional venue.

Construction is now well underway, with the new theatre due to be completed by the end of February 2019.

“There will be no prescribed seating or staging: it is a 12 metre by 12 metre flat floor black box that can be set up how people want it,” says Andrew Scott, general manager of the Marlborough Civic Theatre Trust.

“So for a singer/songwriter doing an acoustic set on a small stage, we could seat up to 150 people while a small theatrical production needing a bigger stage may only seat 80.”

The shell for the new space was built as part of the original construction, so the work currently underway is to line it out and add necessary infrastructure, such as hanging beams for sound and lighting.

Haack Construction is completing the project under the auspices of parent company Clarke Construction, which purchased the commercial construction firm last September.

“They were half-way through the Anderson Theatre project when we took over,” says Ant Clarke, who co-owns Clarke Construction with wife Sarah.

“We’re thrilled to be able to see it through – it’s going to be a great project for the wider community.” Andrew says that the work on site is going very well. “They have been a great team to work with.”

Funding of $900,000 from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund has been pivotal to the new theatre, with fundraising and donations lined up to cover remaining costs.

The total cost of construction is $1.2m. The new theatre’s name recognises the philanthropic generosity of a well-known Marlborough family.

Fundraising is ongoing for equipment so the new theatre can be used concurrently with the rest of the ASB Theatre complex and its main auditorium.

“We have some bookings but we won’t be going too hard and fast on that front until we have all the correct equipment in place,” Andrew says.

Small performing arts groups from the community and local children’s theatre troupes are among likely future users of the Anderson Theatre.

The ASB Theatre Marlborough is regularly hosting Royal New Zealand Ballet productions and NZSO concerts and has partnered with the adjacent Marlborough Convention Centre to host larger conferences in the region.

The new Anderson Theatre further enhances the state-of-the-art facilities on offer at this multipurpose venue by Blenheim’s Taylor River. Clarke Construction is well-established as a high end residential home builder.

Acquiring Haack Construction has extended the company’s reach into the commercial building sector. Along with the new theatre and some light commercial work, projects in the pipeline include work with local schools and wineries.

Both companies are continuing as separate brands, under the Clarke Construction umbrella.

“We have good project managers and site foremen,” Ant says. “We have a good crew of tradespeople and great team of staff in Haack Construction and Clarke Construction.”

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