Your guide to events in Nelson, New Zealand
Nelson’s historic Theatre Royal is one of the oldest wooden theatres in New Zealand. Listed by the Historic Places Trust, the building is nearly 130 years old. It remains very largely in its original condition.
Before the theatre closed in 2005, some 22,000 visitors a year enjoyed the theatrical and dance performances staged there. National and international musicians and touring groups as well as local theatre, school events and community groups used the venue on a regular basis. The theatre also hosted the Nelson Arts Festival, ballet and musical theatre, plays and repertory performances.
The Theatre Royal was commissioned by The Loyal Howard and Loyal Nelson Oddfellow Lodges and opened on 18 July 1878. It is constructed out of native timber with a corrugated iron roof. The theatre is a surviving remnant of 19th century architecture, performing its original function. Most buildings of this era, particularly in Nelson, no longer exist.
A group equally determined at preserving the theatre as that keen to preserve performing arts, has for the past few years been working on a major restoration project of the theatre. The Nelson Historic Theatre Trust was formed and has secured significant funding from the Tasman District and Nelson City councils. A $2.9m government grant was also bestowed on the Theatre Royal by Prime Minister Helen Clarke.
Nelson & suburbs
Steve Thomas, Secretary, Nelson Historic Theatre Trust
03 548 3840
78 Rutherford St, Nelson