Hokitika Regent Theatre
“Assistance from DWC has been a major factor in Hokitika being able to retain and refurbish the Regent Theatre building, and to equip it with state-of-the-art gear, optimising its use for many purposes,” says Bruce Watson from the Westland Community Centre Incorporated.
The Regent Theatre is, in effect, Hokitika’s town hall. It has an auditorium that can handle large meetings, events, and conferences, and two cinema screens to play movies on. The Regent is also an important heritage building, one of few art deco style small town cinemas still operating for their original purposes.
It is used by over 40 community groups and organisations and has more than 25,000 visitors per year, quite something in a town of only 3,400. When operating ‘normally’, the Theatre and its tenants provide full and part time jobs for about 14 people, giving priority to local businesses for work and supplies.
MDI funding of $910,000 has been provided by DWC, in turn acting as seed money for grants from other sources. With the support of Westland District Council, the Theatre was also awarded $165,000 from DWC's District Economic Stimulus Fund (DESF). About half of this was spent in 2017/18 upgrading the projection equipment in the 17-seat Reynolds Room to D-cinema.
In 2019/2020, DWC repurposed the remaining DESF grant to help future proof the Theatre operation. This involved replacing the aging main auditorium projector and other hardware and software with the most up to date gear.
“While COVID-19 had not been anticipated, the new equipment will be crucial in helping the Theatre survive its impact,” says Bruce.
“The revitalised projection gear is used not just for cinema but for most community events from school shows, to Anzac Day commemorations, to meetings and conferences.”
"Thanks to DWC, the Theatre is one of the most versatile ‘town halls’ in the country."
DWC contribution towards West Coast Theatres
- Hokitika Regent Theatre: $1.08m
- Regent Theatre, Greymouth: $650,000
- NBS Theatre, Westport: $700,000