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Christchurch Earthquake: Update

Canterbury Repertory Theatre heritage theatre in Kilmore Street looks sad at first glance with crumbling facade and the green room open to the wind and rain. But behind the scenes there is a different story.
The Canterbury Repertory Theatre before the earthquake. It is due for restoration and will be renamed the Charles Luney Repertory Theatre
Christchurch Art Gallery Gallery has emerged unscathed as a building and is being used as civil defence HQ at present.
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu - September 06 2010.
Christchurch Art Gallery needed to reposition many of John Reynolds 1652 small canvases in Table of Dynasties and adjust some of the lighting. As this picture shows, this work is now back up and looking great.
An update of events, venues and arts organisations after the earthquake in Christchurch. Add your


Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the earthquake in Christchurch.  A magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit the region on Saturday September 4.

Below is an update of events, venues and arts organisations including some personal accounts. The situation continues to change, so please do check individual websites for updates, and we will endeavour to add the latest here.

* Add your updates and messages of support in the comment box below.

Cancelled events

* The Press Christchurch Writers’ Festival, scheduled to be held at the Christchurch Town Hall (9-12 September) has been cancelled.

Christchurch Book Festival Trust, Chair, Brian Phillips said that trustees felt they had no option but to cancel the event given the impact of the earthquake on the people of Christchurch, the damage sustained in the central city and the aftershocks which were continuing to affect the city’s infrastructure.

“We’ve received a number of messages of support from writers, publishers and other international festivals, together with all our funders, sponsors and volunteers. We hope to be able to stage the festival in some shape or form next year so keep an eye on our website for an update.”

* SCAPE 2010 Christchurch Biennial of Art in Public Space will not go ahead this month.
Bob Blyth, chairman of Art & Industry Biennial Trust, says with so much of the central city damaged and many of their industry partners involved in the recovery effort, the trustees have decided to postpone the event and will meet later this month to discuss holding the event at a later date. Read more here.

* The Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards Finalists Showcase performances this month – in Wellington (September 16) and Christchurch (September 17)  - have been cancelled.

* The Dunkley's Great New Zealand Craft Show at Addington Raceway has been cancelled.

* The Black Seeds have postponed their Christchurch show, on September 11, until October 30.

* The Champion Canterbury Awards, due to be held on September 9, have been postponed.

If you are holding events in Christchurch and can update your event listings on The Big Idea please do, add a comment below or contact for assistance.

Venues/Arts Organisations

* The Arts Centre is closed until further notice, including the Court Theatre.

* Creative New Zealand: As access is restricted in the central city the Creative New Zealand Christchurch office is closed. Chris Archer[] and Alan Cathro [] can be contacted by email. 

"Fortunately, there is no structural damage to our office and it will reopen once we believe it is safe for our staff to return. We expect this to occur next Monday, although this is contingent on further seismic activity. Once re-opened we intend to make our office and resources available to the arts community."

The office is located at at Suite 6 A, Level 6, 728 Colombo Street. (read the full CNZ statement)

* Arts Organisations: The Court Theatre, Arts on Tour, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (CSO), Southern Opera, The Physics Room, Christchurch Writers Festival, The Body Festival, Scape Biennial and the Christchurch Festival currently have restricted access to their buildings.   Many of the venues for upcoming performances have also been affected by the earthquake. Please check these organisation’s websites for updates. 

* The Canterbury Repertory Theatre is closed due to structural damage. 

The Big Idea spoke to the Repertory today who said there was good news for the theatre, despite reports to the contrary and images of the damage (pictured above), following a structural engineer evaluation on Wednesday afternoon September 8. With the exception of the top of the façade, they were astounded that there was only minimal damage to the rest of the theatre.

“Beneath the rubble the lower façade is intact with not even a broken window. Further into the theatre everything was undisturbed; the auditorium, stage area, fly tower and dressing rooms intact. The historic proscenium undamaged.”

The Repertory was due to be restored in April 2011 and in the wake of the quake it seems the Repertory Society's Heritage Restoration plans might be fast-streamed. Find out more about the restoration and upcoming events here.

* Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu

Emergency HQ: A blog post from the gallery Director, Jenny Harper

"I'm keen to let you all know how Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu fared after the major earthquake here. It was a wild ride on Saturday, for sure, and it will take some time for parts of Christchurch to clean up. However, our Gallery has emerged unscathed as a building. In fact, we're so safe that we're being used as civil defence HQ at present."

* Floyds Creative Arts

It’s business as usual at Floyds Creative Arts in Christchurch, which has survived the earthquake without any major damage to its brick, central city building. Its doors will re-open on Monday 13 September.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

9 Sep 2010

The Big Idea Editor

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