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New Home for Music, Theatre and the Performing Arts

Clocktower at sunset

Thursday, 13 July 2017 9:28am

Music Theatre Performing Arts image
The proposed music, theatre and performing arts building to be built on Union Street East.

The University of Otago is building recording studios and refurbishing existing buildings in a $26 million project that will spark multiple benefits for both the University and Dunedin.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says constructing a new building beside the Robertson Library in Union Street East and refurbishing the nearby Music Suite, Teaching Wing and Tower Block on the University of Otago College of Education campus by the start of 2019 academic year will:

  • Create a modern, permanent home for the Department of Music, Theatre and Performing Arts Te Kāhui Tau
  • Consolidate the department’s staff, students and activities more, instead of them being in about 10 locations around the campus
  • Provide purpose-built, versatile studios that are equipped both for recording everything from contemporary bands and small orchestras to solos, and for teaching contemporary/rock music performances
  • Provide flexible teaching spaces, and communal areas for students to showcase their work and learn from each other
  • Enhance the College of Education campus
  • Foster collaboration between the college and department, potentially developing a collaborative teaching and research strength unique to Otago
  • Promote a sense of community in the East Precinct of campus and within the Division of Humanities
  • Offer another reason for national and international students to study in Dunedin
  • Make cutting-edge recording studios available for commercial and community use
  • Provide opportunities locally, nationally and internationally in teaching, research and creative music work
  • Make the existing buildings more accessible while also increasing fire protection systems and seismic strengthening as needed.
  • Allow academic programmes to continue with minimal disruption during construction

Professor Hayne believes the long and proud tradition of teaching music at Otago is “an important part of a well-rounded education for our students” – apart from students who do music degrees, many others do minors or double degrees that include music.

The substantial investment in the Department of Music, Theatre and Performing Arts Te Kāhui Tau also signals its importance to the future at Otago.

That department’s benefits spread beyond the campus, by enriching the intellectual and cultural life of the city while fulfilling the University’s pledge to deliver 100 arts performances every year, she says.
Both staff and students provide their expertise to local, national and international bodies as well.

This University’s investment in the Division of Humanities also reflects its strategic commitments to excellence in research and teaching, outstanding student experiences and being a good local, national and global citizen, Professor Hayne says.

Division of Humanities Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Tony Ballantyne says the East Precinct is considered a key area for the future development of the Division, so the relocation of the Music, Theatre and Performing Arts Te Kāhui Tau is the first step towards that future.

With the department’s staff and students consolidated in the East Precinct and an outstanding new facility, both the department and the division will be in a good position to build a strong future.

Workspace studies indicate co-locating staff, students and activities improves efficiency, communication, relationships and collaboration, while also boosting performance, effective decision-making and innovation, Professor Ballantyne says.

Chief Operating Officer Stephen Willis says the project brings the value of the University’s Dunedin-based building programme to more than $250 million, creating more construction jobs and economic benefits for the region.

The building programme includes the ongoing Faculty of Dentistry, Science, Otago Business School and Research Support Facility projects, along with the recently completed Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study building, Aquinas College Redevelopment and the new teaching laboratory at Portobello.

The next steps in the Department of Music, Theatre and Performing Arts Te Kāhui Tau project will include finalising the design and applying for resource consents, Mr Willis says.

For more information, contact:

Gail Goodger
Communications Office
University of Otago
Mob 021 279 8946

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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