Regulus // Issue 2 // August 2023
Rector, Christine Leighton, says she ‘gets goosebumps’ every time she is taken on a tour inside the impressive new Performing Arts Centre, currently under construction. “It’s incredible to get a sneak peek of what this new facility will offer our students, staff, and community. It’s going to be like a mini Theatre Royal.”
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the development is the Gough Family Theatre, with seating for 265 and a stage twice the size of the previous theatre, says Christine. “While the Theatre will serve as a stunning performance space, providing an unparalleled experience for performers and audiences, it can also accommodate a whole year group for various activities such as listening to guest speakers, speech competitions, Dean’s meetings, and visiting performances. It promises to be a versatile venue that goes beyond just hosting productions.”
Christine says one of the core groups to greatly benefit from the Performing Arts Centre is the Ballet Academy. “Our ballet students are currently located in a temporary space, but once they move into the Performing Arts Centre, will have access to two dance studios – the dedicated Ballet Studio and a separate Dance Room where they can train and showcase their talent. These spaces will also be available for co-curricular dance, which is largely run by senior students.
The Black Box Drama Room is another special part of the development, which as well as being used for Drama classes at all year levels, also has seating for 50 people, creating an intimate, immersive performance space.
The Gough Family Theatre’s sophisticated acoustic and lighting design will make it a premier performance space in Christchurch, and provide opportunities for students involved in Media and Television Production at the College to explore a whole new world of technology and backstage operations.
Ongoing fundraising efforts are crucial to make this ambitious project a reality. With a total cost of $20 million, it is the most expensive development at the College to date, says Christine. “We are immensely grateful for the generous support of those who have already contributed to bringing this amazing facility to life, including our Strowan Club members, current and past families, and Old Collegians. Before the official opening of the Performing Arts Centre early in 2024, we hope to have sold the remaining Theatre seats and notes for the College Song, so I encourage those who have yet to donate to seize the opportunity, help us to reach our goal, and show your support for performing arts at St Andrew’s.”
There are various options available to those considering donating to the project. Theatre seats in the Gough Family Theatre can be purchased for $2000 which will have a plaque with the name of a student or family on the back. Notes from the College Song are also available for purchase, with bronze at $3000, silver at $5000 and gold at $10,000. Naming rights to the Ballet Studio are also available for $50,000.
Christine envisages many breathtaking performances and unforgettable moments to come in the Performing Arts Centre, which will have a lasting impact on the lives of St Andrew’s students. “I have no doubt that from 2024, our Drama, Production, Dance, and Music students at St Andrew's College will build upon the amazing legacy for the Performing Arts created by all those who have gone before them.”
To donate, please visit stac.nz/DonateNow