Q Theatre

Q Theatre is theatre facility in Auckland’s Queen Street and includes Rangitira – a 450 seat flexible format space, the Loft – a  120 seat flat floor space overlooking Queen Street, rehearsal space and large entry lobby with a bar and cafe.

Rangitira, the main auditorium, and its associated load in and back of house facilities occupy a new purpose built building while the public entry, cafe and bar and the Loft performance space occupy a strengthened and reworked 1920’s ‘No Deposit Piano Building”.

The theatre sits hard up against the Auckland Town Hall, a building with the highest heritage rating and on the other side Q sits adjacent to very dominant four storey high brick facades to the back of early twentieth century Q Street buildings.  The new auditorium was  carefully modeled to reference these adjacent buildings and be a ‘good neighbour’.   The main auditorium volume, which by nature needs to be enclosed and acoustically isolated, is clad in carefully modeled and coloured precast concrete to break down the apparent scale of the panels and better relate to the masonry units of the neighbouring buildings.  The arrangement of solid and, where possible, glazed elements was carefully manipulated to suggest the ordering of the Town Hall building.

The project required the demolition and replacement of the existing Town Hall green room and the maintenance of storage and access to the Town Hall’s basement kitchens.  These spaces, and those of the Town Hall’s Great Hall and Concert Chamber needed some ingenious design and detail to prevent acoustic ‘spill’ between each facility.  The Town Hall green room, for example, is two floors below Rangitira’s main stage level and required complete isolation, including floating floors and enclosed and sound insulated columns to avoid structure born noise.

Flexible theatre allow theatre designers and directors to manipulate the stage and seating relationship within the auditorium to suit the performance.  The cost of the seating reconfiguration must be kept as low as possible to ensure full advantage is taken of this by theatre groups using the facility and that the seating does not become set in the format last used.  A number of mechanisms were developed to allow the seats to be manoeuvred quickly into position by the least number of staff, employ compressed air jacks, seating trolleys, the auditorium’s two lifts and overhead winch systems to achieve this.

The theatre grew from the desire for the Auckland theatre community to have a variable format performance space in which theatre companies might present innovative and adventurous theatre.  Q is run by a trust formed of theatre practioners and patrons and was constructed in 2009-2010, on time and budget, and with the support of Auckland City Council, the ASB Trust and Lotteries Commission and private donors.

2012 NZIA Auckland Architecture Award

2012 Resene Colour Award

2012 Best Award : Silver

Photographed by Simon Devitt