The foyer of the Waikato Regional Theatre will feature Ralph Hotere's mural from the Founders Theatre.

The Waikato Regional Theatre is a step closer with the delivery in mid-August of Charcoal Blue’s Preliminary Design Report.

“To arrive at a point where we are confident the project can deliver a multi-purpose 1300-seat performing arts theatre is a great milestone” says Julian Elder, Chair of the Waikato Regional Theatre Governance Panel.

The weighty new document addresses the public’s response to March’s Concept Design Report and starts to fill out and resolve some of the specific details of the new landmark.

Julian says the Panel were very encouraged by the amount of feedback on the concept design received from the public and stakeholders.

"The team have diligently taken on board the received commentary and built it into the development of the proposed design.”

A particular request was that the closed-down Founders Theatre be celebrated in the new theatre. One way this will be realised is through Ralph Hotere’s Founders mural being given pride of place in the new theatre’s main foyer (see picture).

“Bringing together the history of Founders with the history and cultural aspects of this site will provide a continuing story for the region,” says Julian.

The appointment process for the members of the Waikato Regional Property Trust, which will own and maintain the theatre, is well advanced, with an announcement due in the next few weeks.

The building of the Waikato Regional Theatre will start in mid-2019, with the opening due in mid-2021. Julian and his team are looking forward to it.

“The design and location are exciting and we believe the theatre will be a key part of transforming the central city and providing a regional venue for arts we can all be proud of.”