ABOUT US & CONTACT, Hokitika's Regent Theatre
ABOUT US & CONTACT
Location Hokitika's Regent Theatre is in the very heart of the town's central business district.
Phone (03) 755 - 8101 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
About Our Theatre
The theatre was built in 1935 and opened in early 1936. It was built in a streamline art deco style, one of many New Zealand cinemas built in the heyday of movie going. It ran as a commercial concern until dwindling attendances in the 1970s with competition from TV made it unprofitable. Fortunately the owners sold it in 1979 to what is now Westland Community Centre Incorporated, a society dedicated to owing and running the Regent for the benefit of the Hokitika and district community.
The society continued to run films and live events in the Regent but by 2006 was increasingly struggling with costs of maintaining and improving the building in the face of continuing dwindling attendances. The theatre was put on the market for sale and would likely have been converted to retail. But the with threat of losing the theatre the community rallied round the society with a huge refurbishment and re-equipping effort. The theatre has been revitalised with over 100,000 hour of volunteer time, over $2 million in grants, and with generous sponsorship of goods and services.
In many ways Hokitika's Regent Theatre is our Town Hall. It is used not just for cinema but for local and touring live shows; Anzac Day; Community Christmas Carols; big meetings; conferences; live screening of things like the Rugby World Cup; America's Cup and the Melbourne Cup; school prize givings and performances; book launches; dance recitals; and fund raisers There are over 25,000 visits to the theatre each year, working out at an average of over 7 visits per resident. There are many visitors too who also come to the Regent to see a new release movie or show in this wonderful heritage building.
The day to day operation and the continuous improvement programme is run by a mix of paid staff, volunteers and where needed specialised contractors.
Refurbishment has been done with the guidance of a Conservation Plan to ensure its heritage features are looked after. The building has been given modern strengthening; weatherproofed, insulated; equipped with a fire detection and alarm system and fire sprinklers; and new heating and ventilation system, and repainted inside and out in the original colour scheme. The seats have been repaired and reupholstered; carpets laid; the stage has been equipped with a roll down screen, new drapes and a modular extension system; there is new cinema and live sound equipment; and a new performance lighting grid.
Movies are shown in the main theatre with close to 400 seats and in the more intimate 17 seater Reynolds Room. Both theatres have projection gear capable of showing all the latest movies on the day they are release in the big cities. In fact Hokitika's Regent was one of only 13 cinemas in New Zealand that could show Avatar in 3D when it was released in late 2009. It was such a big thing that people came from far and wide to see it – 5500 viewers in a town of just 3400 people.
Despite its successes the Regent still struggles for its operational costs and needs ongoing help from the community and visitors. You can help by donations (tax deductible); by becoming a society member; or helping as a volunteer on the building or with events.