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Town Hall and Civic Theatre

Southland, New Zealand

Fifteen designs were submitted and the competition was won by local architect, E.R. Wilson (1871-1941), who designed a two-storey building in an Edwardian Baroque style. Wilson’s building combined municipal offices and council chambers with a ‘modern’ playhouse and hall. In effect he designed two separate buildings, with the municipal offices in front and the theatre behind, connected only by the dress circle staircase rising from the front entrance hall. The principal architect’s original plans, Edmund R Wilson have survived. His architectural practice was inherited by Baxter Hesselin McDowell, now McDowell Architects, who retain his original plans.

*From Heritage Trust NZ.

The Civic Theatre is one of the most significant historical buildings in Southland & is designed in the Edwardian Baroque style. It was built in 1906 as municipal offices & has undergone a $15.8million upgrade to turn the rather tired “grand old lady” into a beautiful performing arts & events centre.

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