25 Nov 2011
They have purchased the building and granted BATS a long term lease to enable them to continue to operate in the same location that has been the theatre's home for the past 22 years."We are extremely fond of BATS and we're happy to help secure a permanent home for the theatre. Wellington has been good to us and we wanted to give something back" says Jackson.
“This is the most wonderful endorsement of the past 22 years of work at BATS,” says Chair of the Board, Victoria Spackman. “We consistently foster the talents and experience of people who go on to national and international careers in film, theatre and other creative endeavours. We are their starting point.”“The term ‘ecology’ is used to describe the theatre community in Wellington and the way it feeds and supports each other. Peter and Fran's contribution is recognition that BATS is a vital part of a bigger ecology still – the wider creative community in this country.”
Walsh adds “BATS has always fostered original Kiwi talent and provides an incredibly supportive environment for up-and-coming writers, directors, musicians and actors. We feel its unique voice is worth preserving and protecting and we look forward to refurbishing the theatre and enhancing the performance space."The Royal Antediluvian Order of the Buffaloes, the previous owner of the building, decided to sell in the middle of the year.
The Board of BATS considered the options available: moving to another building and fundraising to buy 1 Kent Terrace. “The generosity of Peter and Fran has solved an extremely difficult problem for us,” says Ms Spackman. “BATS is totally identified with its Kent Terrace location. Moving or fundraising to buy the building was going to be a steep hill to climb.”“We have a creative and business model that works,” says Victoria Spackman. “It has supported wonderful practitioners and delighted and stimulated audiences for more than two decades. We are deeply appreciative of this investment in our abilities.”
BATS is known for its innovation, talent and integrity. Careers which have started at BATS include Flight of the Conchords, Taika Waititi, Robyn Malcolm, Michael Galvin, Jacob Rajan – and many plays premiered there have been picked up by other theatres and festivals, Apollo 13 and Heat among them.