20 Nov 2014
Bats are nocturnal, on the move at dawn and dusk. So it was fitting we should be at 1 Kent Terrace with other BATS supporters for the official blessing/ribbon cutting and opening of the restored BATS theatre at 7.15am today.
The nation faces a major issue regarding heritage buildings that will not meet contemporary standards of safety without a lot of resource (time, effort and money) and clarity on future use.
I suggest that BATS is an exemplar of what is possible with the right purpose, the right people and community support. As well as being a beautiful example of sympathetic restoration, the new BATS will provide two spaces for theatre to be realised, instead of one. The theatre is now the whole building, not just the ground floor so there is rehearsal space, green room space, greatly improved public amenities and it is safe. The public benefits and the benefits for practitioners and the BATS workers are manifest.
This will be one factor in the coalition that supported the “#Fly BATS home” campaign and raised the funds to restore and upgrade the theatre. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh were key, as they purchased the building, but the truth is that BATS matters a whole lot to many people.
It was lovely to hear the BATS Chair Victoria Spackman speaking this morning about all the work to get to the opening and the delight with the result. Victoria and the BATS Board, staff and supporters are heroes and heroines.
In this photo you can see Victoria on the steps of BATS with my colleague Haniko who did the karakia. The red ribbon had not yet been cut, but it is now, so we can all celebrate. The BATS team have done a terrific job. Kia Kaha.
Also, we can all share our delight by supporting BATS. Suggestion; support BATS by taking your whanau and friends to the new theatre. You will love it.
We joyously sang for Mayor Celia the following, excellently chosen waiata by Sam Freedman.
Ev'ry-thing is ka pai!
You're here at last,
You're really here at last.
Not a cloud in the sky,
To coin a phrase,
This is the "day of days".
Here is some media on the new show WATCH.