Meteor theatre marks new beginning

Video by Nancy El-Gamel

A festive audience packed Hamilton’s Meteor theatre on Saturday as the venue opened itself up to be more accessible to the wider community, including slashing its hire rates.

Poetry, music, burlesque, hip hop dance and improvisational comedy kept the crowd entertained and was a fitting way to celebrate the management of the Meteor being handed over from the Hamilton City Council to the One Victoria Trust.

The non-profit charitable trust has taken over operations of the Meteor, which has struggled with falling rates of usage and a drop-off in audience attendance over the last year.

Trust chairman William Farrimond said one way to get people back into the theatre was to lower hire rates for performers from upwards of $970, to $50 a day.

“By keeping it at that we hope to encourage a greater number of users like school groups,” said Mr Farrimond.

“That’s an affordable thing. Our goal is to make [the Meteor] accessible to a wide range of community users.”

Trust member Ross Macleod, who was also performing with his group Apocalypse Lounge, said there were funding options available to the trust that can enable them to keep hire rates low.

“As a charitable trust there are a whole lot of revenue streams we can access that the council couldn’t access.”

He said this kind of funding will also be useful for the trust to complete earthquake strengthening of the theatre.

Audience member Kristy Pearson said she was glad to see the Meteor become more community accessible and that it will be better able to foster Hamilton’s raw talent.

“It will be just like a centre hub for all the avenues of performing arts and live music that Hamilton has got. Because there is a lot.”