BATS Theatre is gearing up, literally, for a return to a strengthened and refurbished building late this year and has announced a deadline of August 1st to reach a target of $25,000 through their fundraising website at www.flybatshome.co.nz.
“The construction work at 1 Kent Terrace is nearing completion and BATS’ landlords are making sure it’ll be a beautiful building,” says Board Chair Victoria Spackman. “BATS is getting ready to fit out the building with all the gear required to turn it back into a theatre, but we need to raise more than $600,000 dollars to make that happen.”
BATS has been fortunate to receive several generous grants and donations including support from The Lotteries Commission, The Lion Foundation, Wellington Regional Amenities Fund, Wellington Community Trust, and arts producer Charlotte Larsen, but Ms Spackman notes there’s still a way to go.
“We’ve received some truly incredible support that means we’re about 80% of the way there. Reaching our website target will push us into the final phase of our fundraising campaign.”
BATS, which celebrates its 25th birthday this year, is asking for donations from theatre goers and theatre makers to help cover the costs of filling a new bar and foyer, green room, dressing room and to ensure all three performance spaces have the resources to be fully functional.
“We’re asking our community and supporters of New Zealand theatre to join us in creating a performance hub for Wellington by donating any amount they can afford. Every donation will get us one step closer to opening a fully operational BATS in late November,” says Ms Spackman.
On www.flybatshome.co.nz supporters can donate the value of a range of gear required including sound cables, theatre chairs and lights, or even a mop and bucket. The website was launched in April at a special event hosted by Te Radar and with performances by Fly My Pretties and Flight of the Conchords, who have all performed at BATS in the past.
BATS focuses on showcasing New Zealand performance work and in 2013 supported the careers of more than seven hundred and fifty theatre practitioners at their temporary ‘Out of Site’ space, a number that could increase in the new building.
“We’re planning on establishing a second flexible theatre upstairs in the former lodge room, and a small studio space on the top floor” says Programme Manager Cherie Jacobson. “This won’t just mean more BATS shows, but longer, better resourced seasons of even more innovative new work.”
Wellington theatre company My Accomplice are no strangers to the BATS stage, having performed at the theatre regularly since 2010. They were back recently with sell-out New Zealand International Comedy Festival hit A Show About Superheores.
“We first stretched our wings at BATS with a small show in the Fringe Festival, and we’ve had the opportunity to hone our craft and grow our audience there ever since” says My Accomplice co-creative director Hannah Banks. “We’re very excited to be opening the renovated building with our new show WATCH, which is part of BATS’ annual STAB commission and is our most ambitious work yet.”
Banks says the new BATS building presents an opportunity to create a unique Wellington destination, at a time when the closure of iconic performance company Downstage and music venue Mighty Mighty could threaten the performance scene in the city.
“BATS has always been about community, and will continue to give so much back to the city if the community gets behind the dream to make the new theatre the best it can be. We wouldn’t have careers in theatre if it wasn’t for BATS.”