The Napier Municipal Theatre history dates back to the early 1912, when an elaborate building was designed in the Italian Renaissance style by leading Australian architect William Pitt.  

Sadly, the much-loved Napier Municipal Theatre became a total ruin in the 1931 earthquake. The town managed without a replacement for several years while more urgent construction took priority. In 1935 frustration at the lack of an adequate performance venue came to a head and plans for a new theatre progressed.  An 1154 seat theatre was rebuilt and opened for its first performance on 3 June 1938.

Some improvements were made over the next fifty years, but nothing major was undertaken until the formation of a development committee in 1987.

Redevelopment of the theatre began in 1992 and was completed in two stages over the next five years. Particular attention was paid to the preservation and integration of its Art Deco heritage, making this theatre truly unique as well as being one of the most modern venues in the country.

Historic Images

Theatre Royal, Tennyson Street, Napier. Circa 1880s. No: 11176 - Collection of Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust Municiple Theatre, Tennyson Street, circa 1912. No: 5051 - Collection of Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust Interior of Municipal Theatre, Napier. Looking towards stage showing stage boxe. No: 10338 - Collection of Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust Exterior of Napier Municipal Theatre. No: 7438 - Collection of Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust

Note: Images
Permission has been received from HBMAG to use historic images.

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