Council Comment on Downstage Closure

17 September 2013

Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Wellington City Council’s Arts and Culture Portfolio Holder, says he shares the sadness many Wellingtonians will feel about the announcement that Downstage is to close.

Cr Ahipene-Mercer says Downstage has put in heroic efforts in recent years to keep operating and has been an exemplar in terms of its creative output.

“Downstage has had a great and storied history over the past five decades. It has delighted generations of Wellington theatre-goers and has launched many careers.

“However all artistic endeavour has a life cycle.”

Cr Ahipene-Mercer says the City Council will work to encourage and assist any theatrical ventures that rise in Downstage’s place.

“We need to be positive about what that could be – while at the same time recognising the personal hurt that will be felt by the founders, staff, supporters and fans of Downstage.”

“One of the great things about art and culture is you never know what will emerge.”

“The Council supports the arts but of course we don’t – and won’t - determine the form that artistic expression takes. That’s up to the arts community.”