World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Auckland Civic Theatre

Civic Theatre
The theatre from the front.
General information
Type Movie theatre
Architectural style Moorish Revivial
Location Auckland, New Zealand
Address 267 Queen St, Auckland
Coordinates
Completed 1929
Design and construction
Architect Charles Bohringer and William T. Leighton
Main contractor Fletcher Construction
Designated 27-Jun-1985
Reference no. 100

The Auckland Civic Theatre is a large heritage theatre seating 2,378 people[1] in central Auckland, New Zealand. First opened on 20 December 1929, it was reopened in 2000 after a major renovation and conservation effort. It is a famous example of the atmospheric theatre style, in which lights and design were used to convey an impression of being seated in an outdoor auditorium at night, creating the illusion of an open sky complete with twinkling stars.[2]

Contents

  • Significance 1
  • History 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Significance

The Auckland Civic Theatre is internationally significant as the largest surviving atmospheric cinema in Australasia[2] (and also one of the only seven of its style remaining in the world[1]) and as the first purpose-built cinema of this type in New Zealand. It is also known for its Indian-inspired foyer, which includes seated Buddhas, twisted columns and domed ceilings. The main auditorium was designed in a similar style, imitating a Moorish garden with turrets, minarets, spires and tiled roofs as well as several famous Abyssinian panther statues. It could hold 2,750 people at its opening,[1][2] and even at its reduced current seating, is still the largest theatre in New Zealand.[3]

History

The Auckland Civic Theatre was the creation of Thomas O'Brien,[4] who built a movie empire in Auckland's inner suburbs in the 1920s and brought the atmospheric cinema to New Zealand when he opened in 1928 Dunedin's Moorish-style Empire De Luxe Theatre (now the Rialto multiplex houses several small cinemas inside the original one in Moray Place.)

Thomas O'Brien persuaded a group of wealthy Auckland businessmen to build a massive atmospheric cinema in Queen Street and also managed to secure a £180,000 loan from the Bank of New Zealand.

The cinema was built by Fletcher Construction.[4] However, the BNZ loan and soaring construction costs caught the attention of Parliament, while the final price tag ballooned to over £200,000[5] (approximately NZ$18,843,885 in 2015).[6]

The Civic opened amid great fanfare in December 1929, but the onset of the Great Depression contributed to disappointing attendances - as did O'Brien's stubborn insistence on showing British rather than the more popular American films, and he eventually became bankrupt. After several modifications during the following decades, the theatre was eventually restored to very near its original design in the late 1990s.

The theatre also gained some insider fame by being used for the scenes representing a New York Theater called The Alhambra, in Peter Jackson's King Kong remake.[7]

References

  1. ^ a b c Auckland's Most Loved Theatre (from the-edge.co.nz website)
  2. ^ a b c "Civic Theatre Building". Register of Historic Places.  
  3. ^ The Civic (from the 'Great Hall Venue Specifications' document of the 'the-edge.co.nz' website)
  4. ^ a b Memorial inlay on footpath in front of the main entrance, as of 2007
  5. ^ "O'Brien, Thomas Alexander". Retrieved 2015-08-31. 
  6. ^ "Reserve Bank of NZ Inflation calculator". Retrieved 2015-08-31. 
  7. ^ "King Kong Locations".  

External links

  • Mighty Civic Theatre (official website, temporarily under construction)
  • The Civic (website including 3D floor plans)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.