After closing its doors for two months due to restrictions around social gatherings, Baycourt's box office has finally reopened this week with Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell first in line.
"It's great that Baycourt has reopened," said Powell. "We've been waiting for it for a long time."
"Baycourt have recently done a study that suggested that 80 per cent of all respondents don't mind coming back to the theatre to shows. They don't mind sitting together and really interesting, many people said that during lockdown level 1, and as we went through the levels, having access to arts and culture really helped them at times then they were feeling stress."
Despite the fallout from Covid-19, the theatre's schedule is quickly filling up, says theatre manager, James Wilson.
"We've got our first show this weekend which is a concert by the Kugels presented by Tauranga Musica, a fantastic local group being in the first show," he said.
"We've actually been delighted that many companies have postponed rather than cancelled. A lot of them are back in the diary now and as we head towards the end of the year, it's a pretty packed schedule."
With international acts currently unable to travel to New Zealand, it's up to local performers to fill the gaps.
"About 60 per cent of our programme at Baycourt was local artists, so although we're going to miss some of our international friends for a while, we're stoked. And there's plenty of content to keep audiences happy for a while."
Powell was first in line to buy a ticket to a local show.
"I suspect we won't be seeing the borders open anytime soon," he said. "But it's great that we can gather together here in our local communities, and we've got a lot of emphasis placed right now on the concept of 'buy local', supporting local communities, falling back in love with the Bay of Plenty as part of No Place Like Home, that Tourism Bay of Plenty are marketing."
And the mayor's already got his eye on a few upcoming headliners.
"There's some wonderful shows here at Baycourt. There's the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra coming at some stage, the New Zealand Dance Company and lots of local dance productions as well as plays happening throughout the remainder of this year."