Home' The Wellingtonian : December 22nd 2011 Contents 11
THE WELLINGTONIAN, DECEMBER 22, 2011
Seeds of Hope
Visions of Sustainability, Steps
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By REBECCA THOMSON
The arts world in 2011
Lights, camera, action: Ray Ahipene-Mercer at the opening of the Roxy
Cinema in April, with his fully restored 1935 Dodge Coupe. Photo: EMMA BEER
Sad farewell: Real Groovy owner Mark Thomas said in May he was
disappointed to see the doors of his music store close for the last time.
Photo: REBECCA THOMSON
It s been a tough year for the
arts in Wellington.
Ticket sales across the board
were down and scrapping over
funding came to a head.
Creative New Zealand, the
main funder of arts organisations,
rejigged its funding and some
organisations missed out.
Circa Theatre s funding has
been cut in two stages -- from
$668,000 to $618,000 next year,
then a further cut to $568,000 in
Wellington-based Choirs Aotea-
roa New Zealand also had its
funding cut, from $290,000 to
$260,000 a year.
The Vector Wellington Orches-
tra and Footnote Dance were
picked to miss out on funding, but
both received money.
Downstage once again found
itself in strife, with director Hilary
Beaton left to pick up the pieces
for a second time.
She cancelled shows in the last
quarter of the year, though Wel-
lington City Council has come to
the party with $90,000.
Beaton has called for a review of
the arts sector to ensure the econ-
omic impact of everything from
festivals to music events to
theatre can be evaluated more
Theatre news has not all been
Downstage introduced an audio-
descriptive service for the blind
when it staged Awhi Tapu.
Circa Theatre, the city s second-
oldest theatre, celebrated its 35th
anniversary. It opened in 1976, in
Harris St, with David Hare s play
Bats Theatre has been assured
a home, after Peter Jackson
bought the 1923 building, which
was put up for sales by former
owners Royal Antediluvian Order
of Buffaloes for $1.19 million.
It has also been a tough year for
those in the music industry.
Real Groovy closed its doors
May 31. Owner Mark Thomas
cited high rent and falling CD
sales as the reason for the much-
loved store s closure.
came to the rescue of Wellington
Paul Higgens opened Rough
Peel Music in Vivian St and Ben-
jamin James opened Evil Genius
in Adelaide Rd. Both stores are
welcome additions to the city.
Once again Wellingtonians
missed out on major concerts --
Portishead, Stone Temple Pilots,
Neil Diamond and Gorillaz -- and
talk has turned seriously to a new
indoor arena. Westpac Stadium is
backing the idea of a venue
directly opposite, on the other side
of Waterloo Quay.
ented New Zea-
land at this year s
Back home Wellingtonian Ria
Hall was chosen to sing The World
In Union at the Rugby World Cup
opening ceremony at Eden Park.
Movie lovers have had much to
celebrate this year. The very
stylish Roxy Cinema opened in
Miramar. Jamie Selkirk and
friends have lovingly overseen the
restoration of the 1930s art deco
Two small digital cinemas have
opened at the Embassy Theatre in
what used to be the orchestra pit.
And after a shaky start Gaylene
Preston s Film Retrospective
screened at Te Papa last month.
The retrospective was planned
for Christchurch in October 2010,
and was postponed after the Sept-
ember 4 earthquake. It was put on
hold again after February 22
The Film Archive was honoured
with The Jean Mitry Award, an
international accolade given to
organisations for their contri-
bution to the preservation of silent
Earlier in the year Archive
director Diane Pivac published the
beautiful New Zealand Film: An
Illustrated History, which charts
the history of this country s film
Wellington s computer games
industry has also taken off. The
sector now employs more than 400
people, with 114 new jobs created
in the 12 months to September.
James Ellis, Tristan Clark and
Tim Knauf of Launching Pad
Games dipped their toes into the
American computer games mar-
ket. Their iPad game, Mighty Fin,
sold 25,000 copies in three weeks.
In visual arts Wellington hosted
some wonderful exhibitions. Brian
Easton s Makers of New Zealand
1930-1990 featured 60 portraits of
the country s history-makers, from
Gordon Coates to Roger Douglas.
In other news, the Royal New
Zealand Ballet welcomed new
artistic director Ethan Stiefel and
his fiance Gillian Murphy, plans
to show the artefacts dug up from
beneath Wellington s inner-city
bypass were announced, and
Massey s College of Creative Arts
notched up 125 years.
Finally, the future of Welling-
ton s arts sector is looking rosy, if
the city s talented youth are any-
thing to go by.
At just 13, Emily Gare was
accepted to Circus Smirkus, a US-
based international troupe, com-
edian Sarah Harpur won a
$10,000 AMP Scholarship, which
will fund a trip to next year s
Edinburgh Festival, high school
band Urban Legends won Zeal s
Battle of the Bands, Alexis
Cartwright won the Rockquest
women s musicianship award, and
Ben Wilson won the youth section
of the Like Minds, Like Mine film
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