The vision of the Waikato Regional Theatre is for all our kids to have the opportunity to ‘Share the Stage’ with the world’s best performers, and for local productions to have the very best facilities on their doorstep.
Our kids, our neighbours, our community, strutting their stuff on the same stage as the world’s best shows.
The Waikato Regional Theatre will be a community hub where young people learn creative skills and launch careers, and general public engagement extends to workshops and outreach. This will be a stage where talent grows, and producers, technicians, actors, musicians and dancers are discovered by the world.
Top Kiwi entertainer Stan Walker says the new theatre is a huge opportunity for the region’s youngsters, a point he made to Waikato high school music students gathered at Zeal a couple of years ago.
“This incredible theatre that’s going to be built for you guys, you’ll have access to all the stuff I wish we had when I was younger, I was crying out for something like that.”
“I’m so glad you fellas get to have that given to you, to have someone believe in you,” said Stan.
Speaking to local media about the theatre, Stan said too many kids are dismissed as poor and naughty.
"I reckon there's a lot of rough diamonds here waiting to be given an opportunity. The potential of a lot of those people here hasn't been tapped into."
Vicky McLennan, the Chair of Trust Waikato and a former Principal of Waikato Diocesan School for Girls, is embracing this vision.
“My experiences as a Principal taught me how important it is to provide authentic learning contexts for young people. What is more authentic than productions in a professional theatre to inspire, grow and celebrate talent?
“The capacity of a quality venue to attract performers, participants, learners and audiences is clear. Such collaboration is essential to the vitality and wellbeing of the region. One that reflects our stories and showcases our taonga, heritage and talent, that provides opportunities for national and international acts to cross-pollinate and inspire the local arts community.”
The opportunity for the curious young to mix with seasoned professionals is the reason top company director Marcus Feisst and his Feisst Group donated a significant sum to the theatre project.
“Growing up these days is not easy,” says Marcus. “Young people need more positive places to gather and have real world experiences, we need to surround them with opportunities to grow.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing my kids on its stage,” he says, “getting up in front of an audience builds self-confidence and character, regardless of where you then go in life.
The Waikato Regional Theatre will be growing budding superstars and strengthening the region’s communities for generations to come.