Fly My Pretties Take the Stage for the Isaac Theatre Royal — 21.02.15

BOOSTED NEWS >> Last night, the Isaac Theatre Royal and Fly My Pretties launched the theatre’s first major public crowdfunding campaign, and the largest ever Boosted campaign.

Four years after the Isaac Theatre Royal was critically damaged by the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, necessitating extensive rebuild and restoration, theatre management have joined with the largest ever 'Fly My Pretties' cast, and 1250 concert goers to celebrate the completion of the $40million construction programme.  The sold out 'Restoration Celebration' was also the launch pad for the theatre's first major public crowdfunding campaign. Announced by Fly My Pretties frontman Barnaby Weir and Isaac Theatre Royal Chief Executive, Neil Cox, the campaign aims to raise at least $300,000 on the Arts Foundation's crowdfunding website, Boosted. The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust (CEAT), has committed to match all public donations dollar for dollar. Funds raised will ensure that the theatre can be maintained, and remain the central city's most spectacular heritage entertainment theatrical venue for generations to come.
The crowdfunding campaign, entitled 'Take the Stage', is endorsed by well-known local and international figures such as Sir Ian McKellen, Richard O'Brien, Barnaby Weir, LA Mitchell, Laughton Kora and Hayley Westenra. Barnaby Weir announced on stage that the first $10,000 from the Restoration Celebration ticket sales revenue will be donated to the campaign. He said it is a special privilege to be part of the 'Take the Stage' campaign, and has fond memories of bringing 'Fly My Pretties' to the theatre prior to the earthquakes, "The theatre is a jewel of our cultural history and now that it has been fully refurbished we would love to see that it is maintained and sustained for future generations to enjoy." 
Isaac Theatre Royal Chief Executive, Neil Cox, says "It has been a long four years, and a hard fought battle to get the theatre to where it is today. We are extremely proud of the fact that during the entire rebuild programme we did not have to go out to the general public once to raise funds to actually complete the building. But now that task is complete and the Isaac Theatre Royal has reopened we have significant commercial loans to service for the foreseeable future and the success of this campaign will ensure we can continue to keep the theatre flourishing for generations to come, as well as ensuring that we are able to consistently maintain the theatre following what has been a truly spectacular and globally acclaimed rebuild and restoration". 
Major New Zealand arts organisations including the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand Opera, and suppliers Ticketek New Zealand and Eventfinda, have all pledged to support the campaign by getting the word out to their networks. Royal New Zealand Ballet Managing Director, Amanda Skoog, says that she is delighted to confirm their support for a theatre she describes as an outstanding and historic cultural asset "The Royal New Zealand Ballet supports any major restoration to this 'Grand Old Lady' of the performing arts to keep her alive and well. Without her we would not be able to successfully perform our works in Christchurch on the scale that we do and we look forward to many more years of performances at Isaac Theatre Royal." 
Sir Ian McKellen, who is a public face of the campaign, last performed on stage at the Isaac Theatre Royal when he performed in 'Waiting for Godot' in Christchurch, July 2010. "That was before the quakes struck and left that lovely old lady of a theatre, cracked and creaking, needing a full face-lift. Backstage, our Godot poster and the remnants of our set which we left behind have survived in the wings." He gives his assurance that "every single dollar raised will go directly to ensuring the indispensable Isaac Theatre Royal is around for many, many more years to come." 
Actor, Sam Neill says that he grew up with the Theatre Royal, and it was there and at the Repertory Theatre that his interest in the theatre really began, he says, "I urge everyone who can, to contribute to its future, to raise money for such a beautiful and important piece of Christchurch." 
The public are encouraged to join in the fundraising effort and be part of securing the future of a national treasure. All donors, big and small, have the opportunity to have their name honoured on a special plaque back stage at the Isaac Theatre Royal for all time, so that performing artists from all over the world can see who helped to keep the theatre alive.
Donations can be made online at http://www.takethestage.co.nz.