Green Party MP for Auckland Central, Chlöe Swarbrick, is launching an open letter to the Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon Kiritapu Allan, asking for the Government to match the Auckland Council’s contribution of $15 million to revive the St James Theatre.
“Reviving the St James is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide the space and place the incredible creatives in our city deserve,” says Swarbrick.
“The rebuild of the St James was green-lit in 2020 by the Infrastructure Reference Group as a Shovel Ready Project as it hit all of the necessary requirements: jobs, public and regional benefit and construction readiness. I understand then-Minister Shane Jones decided against funding it.
“To bring this theatre back to life, $67 million is required. An adjoining planned apartment development is expected to bring in approximately half of this. Council, several years ago under the leadership of Mayor Len Brown, promised $15 million which is still on the table if the project can get off the ground. To bring everything together and make this happen, we need to find the shortfall of $15 million.”
The St James Theatre is located in the middle of Auckland’s ‘Arts precinct’, between the Art Gallery, Library, Civic Theatre and Town Hall. It was first opened in 1928 and is Category A Heritage listed. Auckland is also a UNESCO City of Music.
Swarbrick says “I am asking the Government to match the Council's contribution. This is by far and away the cheapest ‘new’ venue Tāmaki Makaurau will ever get."
Sign the letter here.