A Virtual Visit Of The Yet-to-be-built Waikato Theatre

A Virtual Visit Of The Yet-to-be-built Waikato Theatre
May 15, 2020
Proposed Waikato Regional Theatre flythrough
Fly through of the proposed Waikato Regional Theatre in Hamilton


It hasn't been built yet, but you can check out the view from all the seats in the auditorium of the Waikato Regional Theatre.


That's thanks to a virtual reality setup in the Smart Space by Hamilton's Central Library, which puts viewers inside the new performance space.


After Founders Theatre was closed due to safety concernsMomentum Waikato drove work on a $74 million replacement.


"What this [virtual reality] does is give you a sense of scale ... how big it is, and to feel what the various areas of seating are like," Smart Space innovation lead Pete Allely said.


"There have been a few theatre workers who have come through and they're like, I really want to go up on the rigging.

Strap on the virtual reality headset and you'll be inside the auditorium of the Waikato Regional Theatre. Pictured trying it out is Smart Space innovation leader Pete Allely.


"They're really excited because it's new and purpose-built and state-of-the-art."


The VR experience was developed by Charcoalblue, the theatre's international designers, and is sponsored by Momentum Waikato.


Strap on the VR headset and you can test the view from any of the seats in the Waikato Regional Theatre.

The screen on the right shows what the headset wearer is seeing. They can skip between seats and areas of the theatre using the controller.


Squeeze a button, point the controller at a digital punter, and you'll suddenly be in their seat, looking at the stage.


There's also a chance to get a performer's view from the stage, under the lights.


The experience is being hosted by the Smart Space, an area created to show off innovation happening around the Waikato.

Theatre workers have been among those keen to get a taste of the new auditorium - but they want to get into the rigging (file image).


Three physical chairs, sitting by the VR kit, are options for the theatre which you can vote on.


Over the next few weeks, Momentum Waikato will announce the contractors who will build the theatre, chief executive Kelvyn Eglinton said.


Over summer, Momentum has signed a funding agreement for its $12m from the Provincial Growth Fund, has funding applications for $3m under way or being assessed, and has been working on the final $2m it needs to find.


"They're not very exciting [things] to the public but they're kind of integral for getting the project over the line," Eglinton said.


The Waikato Regional Theatre Virtual Reality experience is available Wednesday to Friday, 10am-4.30pm, until May 22 in the Smart Space at the front of the Hamilton Central Library.


The theatre project has so far received funding from Hamilton City Council, Waikato Regional Council, Trust Waikato, the Provincial Growth Fund, Lotteries Board and a range of trusts and philanthropic individuals, families and businesses.

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