The dancers of the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) now have a new home in a prime spot in the Wellington CBD with the blessing of their new rehearsal studio.
The blessing ceremony was held this morning at the building at 115 Wakefield Street, previously the Michael Fowler Centre carpark.
“I am delighted the Wellington City Council can provide this space for the RNZB while the St James Theatre is being strengthened,” says Wellington Mayor Justin Lester. “It is an investment in the RNZB as a critical part of Wellington’s culture infrastructure.
“It’s more than 60 years since the RNZB began to call Wellington home, and this rehearsal space means it will continue to call the capital home.
“The public will also have a window on the ballet’s work with the activated space linking Jervois Quay and Wakefield Street.”
RNZB Executive Director Lester McGrath says they are pleased to be making the move to Wakefield Street and are grateful for the Council’s support in planning and building this new space.
“We are looking forward to creating dance magic in these new studios, starting with Bold Moves in July and August, and then our brand new production of Hansel and Gretel this Christmas. We are also looking forward to our ultimate return to the St James, with seismic strengthening complete and improved facilities for audiences and artists.”
The purpose-built dance studio features two rehearsal studios equivalent to the size of two of the studios within the St James Theatre, as well as areas for costume making, changing rooms and office staff.
Following the RNZB’s return to the St James Theatre – expected to be in 2021– the building could be repurposed at the site, house other arts and culture activity, be moved elsewhere, or sold.