Theatre complex

Andromeda is a unique and outstanding theatre and entertainment complex, proposed for the CBD in Christchurch.
It will contain a range of venues including:
• An outdoor piazza and performance space with seating down the side of the Andromeda building
• A 400 seat flexible theatre which can be also be configured as a 200 seat cabaret theatre or a 600 person dance floor
• An 80 seat rooftop jazz and comedy café/bar
• The “green room” which is used as a 150 seat fringe theatre, a rehearsal room, a breakout room for conferencing, and also as a green room
• A foyer which can additionally be used as a performance space
• A 150 seat space and tehnology cabaret theatre predominantly for a house production aimed at the tourism market but also for use by circus performances and cabaret performances

Unlike most theatre venues, Andromeda will be ‘alive’ and vibrant from 6am through until the evening performances. This is because what is key to the proposal is using the complex as a hospitality and conferencing venue as well as promoting Andromeda as an available space for a variety of performance groups – to rehearse, to workshop, to perform. The spaces will stay open after the performances which will add to the vibrancy in the CBD, much more so than standard theatre models. It will also create additional income streams which is an important component of the business plan and something traditional theatre usually doesn’t accommodate.

Theatre Hub

Attached to the publicly accessible area, Andromeda will include a number of affordable tenancies and a co-working space. This will provide many of Christchurch’s theatre companies with a stable and secure home, encouraging artistic collaboration and communication. It will also support the concentration of a diverse range of professional theatre companies in one CBD location. All of this is key to the robust and peer reviewed business plan that has been developed.

Many would be surprised to learn that Christchurch based professional theatre companies are successfully producing world-class productions all over New Zealand and overseas.

Andromeda will change this by providing an outstanding, professional and technologically advanced environment that will garner national and international attention – helping to grow Christchurch’s reputation as a leading centre of artistic excellence.

Science-Fiction and Technology Theme

Andromeda has been nicknamed the “purple croissant” however it is of course a concept that can and no doubt will change as iterations are completed.

What won’t change though is the stunning, futuristic design as this will ensure it becomes an iconic building, recognised far and wide as the “powerhouse” of Christchurch theatre and performance.

Of course it will be even more than that.

When dining in the restaurant, technology and design might have you wondering if you’re in a restaurant or a spaceship, and whether it is the 21st or 22nd century?

Christchurch’s technology sector is world-class and business-wise Canterbury is the biggest exporter of technology per capita in the Southern Hemisphere. Andromeda will showcase our world-class technology sector through numerous idiosyncratic technology/art installations, adding to the experience of being a part of Andromeda, as well as providing media opportunities to profile and promote the complex.

The theatres themselves will also reflect the futuristic theme however theatre productions and conferences can also function in a more traditional environment.


Andromeda’s 400-seat theatre can be easily reconfigured to be used as a conference venue.

The space has been designed so that a “quick change” can be made to allow daytime conferencing and night-time theatre.

Traditional conferencing venues are usually empty and lifeless at night, and traditional theatres are usually empty and lifeless during the day.

The flexibility offered by Andromeda to host conferences will maintain an energy and vibrancy in the Performing Arts Precinct during the day and support the complex financially. This will be integral in attracting more conferences to Christchurch through its novel, tech and performing arts themes. Medium sized conferences means hundreds of bed nights for Christchurch – or, in other terms, visitors coming and injecting money into Christchurch’s economy.

Situated beside the Convention Centre, it will not compete, but compliment by providing a range of activities for delegates from the Convention Centre in the evenings, drawing its own demographic of conference to Christchurch, and providing additional breakout spaces for very large conferences.


With two cabaret spaces, Andromeda is able to provide unique options for hospitality in the CBD. Those options include opening the facilities as a cafe for coffee and meetings from 6am during the week, and casual brunch in the weekends (with live entertainment, of course), and to stay open until late at night for tourists, conference delegates and local night owls.

Andromeda is presenting an alternative to the Christchurch City Council’s 2015 proposed layout.

Key advantages of the previous proposal include:

  • • Supporting a small range of theatre companies by having a black box theatre
  • • Inclusion of a much needed carpark
  • • A small courtyard making a small difference to local activation

Key disadvantages of the previous proposal include:

  • • Affordability: A $15m black box not best optimised for use by the artists, a $45m Court Theatre, and a $10m carpark are not available from the $30m pot of Performing Arts Precinct money. Even with the carpark coming from another fund, we are still $60m over budget.
  • • Equity: whilst it is great to have a black box for theatre companies other than the Court to present in, little provision is made in the way of tenancies or alternative performance spaces. Meanwhile the Court takes up the lion’s share of the space and facilities, including a large industrial section not available to the public which literally overshadows the precinct. The Court Theatre are also proposing that the multipurpose theatre be the first to be cut with the budget constraints.
  • • The courtyard is small
  • • The land designated for the multipurpose still has a derelict building and has not even been purchased yet

Some key upgrades and differences from the Christchurch City Council’s 2015 layout:

  • • Multipurpose theatre courtyard is upgraded to a proper piazza with a serious outdoor performance stage. This will be surrounded by hospitality joints and food trucks to serve locals and travellers from many demographics
  • • Multipurpose theatre has tenancies for 10 theatre companies, bringing a diverse range of performing art into the area
  • • Multipurpose theatre keeps its 400 seat black box but adds a 150 seat cabaret venue, 80 seat jazz and comedy rooftop bar, and 150 seat fringe theatre for shared use beside the Court Theatre
  • • Court Theatre keeps the luxury of having its industrial activity (building and making) onsite, but they, alongside with the Court Theatre offices, are moved into the bottom stories of the multiuse carpark building so save both money and prime real estate.
  • • Multipurpose Theatre (Andromeda) is costed at $19m
  • • Court Theatre by sharing Andromeda’s fringe theatre for its Forge, and utilising two stories of the carpark, brings its costs down from $45m to an estimated $10-$15m
  • • Gloucester Street is a stylish entrance to the precinct with three theatres in a row
  • • XCHC takes a third floor of the multiuse carpark, also overlooking the piazza
  • • Staging: building can start immediately as the necessary land and money is ready to go
  • • Christchurch’s 15+ professional theatre companies, 4 major festivals and many more festivals are well supported in creating a vibrant CBD

Building and Precinct Layout

Who needs this theatre?

  • Christchurch has over 20 professional theatre companies, most of whom are making their markets overseas and have flown under the radar locally. Not to mention hundreds of professional musicians creating original music and dozens of dance troupes. This theatre will provide a serious home to these performing artists, allowing them to cohabitate and create a diverse range of performing art for a diverse range of audiences in a purpose-built casual central city location.


Kia ora koutou

Andromeda is a proposed theatre complex that will host a plethora of Christchurch professional theatre, comedy, cabaret and circus companies, be a home to many big and small scale music concerts and will host touring theatre troupes and bands.

The Andromeda theatre complex will be like no other theatre building in the world. Its futuristic space theme will make it an exciting place for locals to visit, and more importantly a must-do for tourists. Its house cabaret featuring groundbreaking technology will be marketed heavily overseas to generate new audiences for the theatre and new tourism in Christchurch.

Andromeda takes all the identified objectives of the Performing Arts Precinct black box theatre and turns it into a commercially sustainable venture that fosters a huge number of theatre and arts companies to make comedy, theatre and music in our CBD whilst bringing significant new money into Christchurch through its tourism branch. It does it all using funds already available in the Performing Arts Precinct for the black box project. Building Andromeda really does seem to be one of the best things Christchurch could do, and it’s ready to go, right now.

Key benefits for the city

In terms of the Performing Arts Precinct, the need for a new black box style theatre for local and touring groups has already been identified. This theatre fulfils all of those objectives within budget and offers many more advantages for Christchurch.

Christchurch Airport, in conjunction with Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism, the City Council, Canterbury Development Corporation, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and Tourism New Zealand, developed the Destination 2025 document which identified as a risk to the Christchurch visitor market, the “lack of iconic (large scale) attractions/activities – no compelling reason to visit or stay in Christchurch”.

Another risk the document identified was the likelihood of “trying to rebuild the past rather than embracing the opportunity of what Christchurch could become (new & different)”.

Andromeda will become an anchor in the Christchurch and New Zealand tourism economy, as well as the arts economy.


The Andromeda cabaret will generate audiences of 30,000-50,000 per year, and its conferences will bring an additional 5,000 to 10,000 international delegates per year – most staying for multiple days.

From its new visitors, Andromeda will generate 30,000 to 40,000 additional bed nights per year, injecting approximately $3m to $4m into the hotel industry and that much again into the rest of the hospitality and tourism industry annually.

Andromeda complements the Christchurch Adventure Park well in that its activities are predominantly during the day and Andromeda’s main tourist attraction is predominantly in the evening. Therefore Andromeda visitors are left with a perfect gap in their schedule to spend their money at attractions such as the Adventure Park.

Visitors will also spend money at other Christchurch destinations. During the day, we expect 25,000 of our patrons annually to attend the new adventure park, ride the trams and/or take the Gondola. Theatre-goers are also likely visit the other theatre productions in town. Restaurants and cafés all over the city will benefit from the increased tourist numbers, the value of which is at least tens of millions per year to the Christchurch and New Zealand economy.

Andromeda will be a major player in vitalising Christchurch’s arts culture in a great number of ways.

Making the city buzz
The venue will be in the heart of the city and full of music and theatre not only most nights of the week, but also during the day. Our outdoor stage will also fill the Performing Arts Precinct courtyard with music and theatre all summer long.

Drawing groups and crowds
Andromeda will give a practical theatre home to many types of groups, and pull all sorts of crowds and demographics into the Performing Arts Precinct.

Creating a nucleus
Andromeda’s tenancies and shared working environment will mean theatre companies are more aware of each other’s projects and taking better advantage of opportunities to collaborate.

Making it easier for independent theatre companies to stage a show
Andromeda will specialise in joint ventures – an increasingly popular way that theatres are working with artists to reduce risk to the artist (encouraging more production) and taking advantage of the theatre’s advertising and other production processes to achieve a better result all round.

Growing the number of companies
The nucleus Andromeda will provide, and the culture of theatre creation, will inspire more theatre companies and shows to be born.

Christchurch is currently not known internationally or nationally for its arts culture. However this isn’t because it doesn’t have one – in fact we have an incredible array of professional theatre and music groups creating groundbreaking work. But our groups are scattered across Christchurch with little chance of collaboration, and little chance of audience cross pollination.

Andromeda will be a massive leap forward in terms of getting Christchurch on the map as an arts capital.

Andromeda will employ over 70 staff and many additional contractors. It will also increase demand for employment in the tourism industry in Christchurch. Andromeda’s professional tenants will also be able to thrive and have more employment opportunities within each of their organisations.

The house cabaret will create three full-time lead performance roles and will employ approximately 30-50 actors as both full-time and part-time character wait staff (approximately 20 on each night). It will serve as an excellent part-time job to actors studying at NASDA and recently graduated from NASDA and other New Zealand acting institutes, and the environment will be a relevant one to work in.

The actors who want full-time work will be able to work full-time by spreading their duties between performing, working in the box office, working as wait staff on different themed and non-themed times and working in promotions (e.g. roaming characters throughout the city, brightening the CBD and giving photo opportunities to tourists). Andromeda will run several pop up performances in the area.

Andromeda will provide a permanent performance week-day job for three Christchurch musicians and a live background gig for an additional 20 contract musicians per week.

Andromeda will employ 20 kitchen staff.

Andromeda will employ 10 people in supervisor and duty manager roles.

Andromeda will employ seven people in management and marketing roles.

It is our intent that this complex makes Christchurch a destination for tens of thousands of tourists and conference goers annually. This means international visitors may choose to come to New Zealand or extend their stay in New Zealand for additional nights so they can experience Andromeda. Therefore, we will cause hundreds of additional hotel rooms to be booked each week, helping increase employment in the hotel industry, and increasing attendance at Christchurch tourist attractions and other eateries during the day.

Andromeda is by no means the first tourism attraction in Christchurch/Canterbury, nor is it the first theatre, but will be a very significant addition to the CBD, to Christchurch and to New Zealand’s reputation as an international tourism and arts destination. We hope this is an important part of building a stronger tourism culture and a stronger arts culture in Christchurch and encouraging many other new tourism businesses and arts businesses to begin. Andromeda itself will also sport great tenancies and joint ventures to cultivate new theatre companies beginning.

Andromeda will showcase innovations from Christchurch’s 200+ technology companies. Not only do we plan on hosting technology-based conferences, the showcase surrounding other international conferences, and strategic connections we can form between technology developers and conferences, will put Christchurch’s innovative companies in the forefront of delegates’ minds. Many of the conference delegates will be decision makers and will influence decision makers for large international companies.


In the Performing Arts Precinct, by the new Crowne Plaza. The need for a black-box style theatre has been identified, and the approximate budget and space have been allocated for a project such as this.

Actually, we’ve been doing that for a few years now. The market research has been commissioned and completed, quantity survey commissioned and completed, key stakeholders consulted and the full business proposal has been through a number of iterations. The concept is ready to go, right now.

Absolutely. We’ve been in the theatre business for a long time as producers, and also in the venue business out at Orange for a number of years. We know the trials and tribulations on both sides. At Orange, we’ve tried a number of ways of making venue hireage (and other costs) viable for artists, and have seen how other venues make things viable for artists (and also what not to do), so we’re pretty experienced there. To be specific, artists will have an option to perform in the cabaret style where we will offset the venue hire costs with food and drink sales. Furthermore, we will take on a number of joint ventures each year in which the theatres will underwrite all or most of the venue costs and some advertising costs, and take a percentage rather than a hire fee – this model is getting more and more popular around the world and encourages a lot more artists who may not have capital to take bigger risks to put on excellent work.

With good systems. Michael is well versed in running multiple companies at once with staff spread across Australasia and a venue that is usually open for 16 hours a day. The staff structure and systems will be very much like that of a hotel (who are open 24 hours, 7 days a week) but with a theatre-based spirit.

Distinct managers have been budgeted to oversee each strand of the business: Theatre and festival bookings and stage management, hospitality, advertising, technical, conferencing and weddings, the house cabaret production, kitchen, and ticketing and merchandise.

We have begun taking a register of interest. There may be a small amount of money left to raise but this will be confirmed following negotiations with the Christchurch City Council. For now, please feel free to email michael@andromeda.kiwi to register your interest.

We will have a strong focus on professional, world class theatre and music, performed by local and visiting professional artists, which local patrons and visitors to the city are wowed by. However, we anticipate a number of community and school groups using the space for both big and small productions too.

The cost of building this facility is $18.9 million. The Performing Arts Precinct will fund the building out of its budget allocations, a charitable trust will own and manage the building, and various charitable and commercial entities will rent the theatre, bar and other spaces from the charitable trust. Our project will bring countless numbers of professional theatre groups, professional circus groups, community theatre groups, professional music groups, and community music groups to activate our city’s arts scene year-round. This venue will create a huge amount of economy for the city. The council funding such a theatre means new economic and artistic activity that doesn’t already exist, through a self-sustaining business model.

No. As well as a 400 seater black box style theatre identified as needing to be included in the precinct and drafted in the plan, the Court Theatre have also been drafted in the plan. We would be very happy being neighbours with the Court Theatre and would like to encourage collaboration in many ways.

The interior spaces will be very flexible and will suit a wide range of production styles. The Civic Theatre in Auckland is a great example of a heavily themed building being a strength and not detracting from any sort of production.

Andromeda’s space theme will help make Christchurch an exciting tourist destination, attracting many people into our city, and into the Andromeda Theatre.

Furthermore, Christchurch is the biggest exporter of technology per capita in the Southern Hemisphere (often dubbed the “Silicon Plains”), something most locals aren’t even aware of. Having such a technology based theatre will help to profile not only our arts sector, but our technology sector, for locals, tourists and international conference delegates.

In summary, the space theme will be
• Beautiful and tasteful
• Flexible
• Original and exciting
• Achieve excellent economic outcomes for Christchurch tourism
• Showcase Christchurch’s large technology industry.

No. We will perform a very different function. Our role in the arts community will be very much that of Q Theatre or the Basement Theatre in Auckland, or Bats Theatre in Wellington. Also, we will help new festivals birth, filling all the local venues with more performance.

  • The Piano is a concert style reverberant hall, flanked by studios for music teachers and small recital rooms used for events such as music examinations. Our tenancies will run in a very different style and we anticipate very few people comparing quotes for venue hire between The Piano and Andromeda – our theatre will have a flexible acoustic suited to comedy, cabaret, drama, jazz and pop/rock.
  • The Theatre Royal is a 1300 seater large proscenium arch theatre suitable for big productions and big names. Our 200-400 seater auditorium will host a very different style of event. There may be a small amount of minor crossover between the Theatre Royal’s Gloucester Room and our flexible Green Room.
  • The Court Theatre (not yet in the precinct) has an existing patron base, and will run its own productions year-round. Their theatres are not available to other companies to move in and use, therefore they do not need to worry about losing potential theatre hireage. Also distinct from the Court, our own house show will be a cabaret and we will have a heavy focus on bringing new audiences into Christchurch.
  • Free Theatre is also nearby, focusing on experimental theatre and their venue is available to hire. However, like the Court, most productions are their own and, like the ITR Gloucester Room, their venue seats approximately 100. Our Green Room (closest in style) will be very different to the Free Theatre’s space (it will be more ad-hoc) and the Gloucester Room space so any artist comparing options will likely be choosing based on style and availability. Our Green Room will be used predominantly for rehearsal and as a breakout room for conferencing.
  • Andromeda will complement all of these other Performing Arts Precinct tenants by generating new foot traffic to the precinct, incubating new festivals, and bringing new theatre-loving patrons into the city.



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