Wellington, New Zealand
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In 2011, the BATS theatre building was placed on the market. Faced with the unprecedented opportunity of securing the long-term future of the theatre, the BATS staff and Board rallied to build support for the purchase, but given the extremely limited time frame it looked as though the purchase amount required was not going to be forthcoming.
At the eleventh hour, celebrated filmmakers Sir Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh plunged their hands deep into their pockets, offering to purchase the building and issue BATS with a long term lease. They felt that it was absolutely necessary to save the 91-year-old building, saying “its unique voice was worth preserving and protecting” and citing the theater's important role in “supporting up-and-coming writers, directors, musicians and actors”.
And so began a two-year programme aimed at breathing new life into the three-storeyed building. Being very aware of the historical and cultural significance that BATS holds in the hearts of many New Zealanders, the rebuild needed to retain some of that original, raw and experimental character and authenticity - but while bringing it forward in time, It needed to feel like BATS, but a better evolution of what BATS could be.
On 22 November 2014 BATS reopened at its original 1 Kent Terrace home which has been beautifully refurbished to expand the former 80-seater theatre to include more performance spaces, each of which needed to be flexible for the needs of different productions. The Effuzi Cue theatre seat was selected and installed into this iconic theatre.