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Christchurch venue overview assessment report (March 2014)

The Christchurch Venue Overview and Assessment Report was commissioned by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage on advice from the Joint Agency Group (including representatives from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, Christchurch City Council and Creative New Zealand). 

Craig Cooper’s report provides an independent, expert view of the current situation regarding performing arts venues that are both purpose built for performance and provide open access to performing arts practitioners in Christchurch city. The report is intended to assist venue developers and users in their decision making. Data associated with the report is also intended to inform the CERA Planning and Community Toolset.

Full-text copy of the Christchurch venue overview and assessment report (pdf version)

Frequently asked questions

I'm a Performing Arts Facility user, why wasn't I contacted as part of this assessment?

The scope of this report focused on those who own or are intending to develop or build new facilities.  The Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Christchurch City Council and Creative New Zealand have previously undertaken analysis of venue users’ needs, which informed the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan and Blueprint.

I want to provide feedback to make sure the listed facilities that are developed are fit-for purpose - who should I speak to?

Please contact the building owners directly for further information about the venue.

The assessment focuses only on Christchurch - will the geographic scope of the report be widened to include the greater Christchurch region?

At this stage, there is not a venue assessment report being commissioned for the wider Canterbury region. Existing and confirmed new venues will be included in updates to the Planning and Community Toolset (PACT) map which is available through the CERA website.

Who prepared this report and what is their professional background?

Craig Cooper has worked in the arts sector for 20 years in Australia and New Zealand across a range of roles. Most of his career has been spent working in a producing capacity in performing arts venues. He began his career at Christchurch’s Court Theatre as a producer and education officer. He subsequently held producer roles at Sydney Opera House, and worked as Cultural Development Officer with Marrikville Council establishing seven venues in Sydney. He was Senior Programme Advisor at Creative New Zealand with national portfolio responsibility for theatre, and worked at Auckland’s THE EDGE Centre for Performing Arts which manages five performance venues. Following the completion of this research, he was recently appointed to the role of Festival Director of the Christchurch Arts Festival.

Who commissioned the report and whose views are represented in the recommendations?

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage commissioned the report under advice from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), the Christchurch City Council (CCC) and Creative New Zealand. It was commissioned in response to a request from the sector for up-to-date information on the status of performance venues and its purpose is to assist venue developers and users in their decision-making. 

The report provides an independent expert assessment of performing arts venues in Christchurch.   The recommendations in the report are those of the independent contractor and do not necessarily represent the position of Ministry for Culture and Heritage, CERA, CCC or CNZ.  

Is the Council asking for feedback on the James Hay Theatre from users as part of the restoration process?

The Town Hall project team has collated feedback from performing arts groups about how the James Hay Theatre and other performance spaces could be improved. Architects Warren and Mahoney are currently considering this feedback and over the coming months the Council will be meeting with key groups to discuss recommendations.

The Council is committed to continuing to work with key users of the facility to look at how the Town Hall can be enhanced to better meet future needs. The Council is aware that a number of groups have issues with the James Hay Theatre, in particular, which it will be addressing as part of this process.

Updated on 7th October 2019