News | 21 April 2022
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St James Theatre to reopen by late June 2022 

After three years of significant strengthening and refurbishment works the St James Theatre is planned to reopen by the end of June.

The St James theatre as viewed from street level.

Previous lockdowns and ongoing staff shortages due to COVID-19 has delayed the planned date from May to June 2022.   

Our contractors were working towards completing the major construction works by 10 May 2022. However high levels of staff absences due to COVID-19 (over 80 percent) has required the rescheduling of works which means construction will now finish in June.   

The internal fit-out of the building will begin in May. This includes installing new theatre rigging systems, audio-visual equipment and building services such as the air-conditioning, heating and so on. There is also significant work involved in reinstating the heritage features of the building which were carefully removed and stored during the construction process.   

The Wellington City Council is continuing to work closely with WellingtonNZ, which manages the theatre and bookings, and key tenant the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB). RNZB will be refurbishing its dance studios and tenancy space once the building works are complete in June.   

The timing for the opening events will be confirmed towards the end of May.   

Background strengthening works  

In 2015 the St James Theatre on Courtenay Place was found to be an earthquake-prone building. The work to strengthen the theatre to a minimum 67 percent of the New Building Standard started in April 2019.   

Other improvements include upgrades to staging, lighting, sound and rigging systems, as well as to the fire protection, mechanical and electrical systems.