The fate of Founders Theatre remains up in the air as community groups are on the clock to make submissions to take over the building, or have it demolished. Founders Theatre in Tristram Street's Boyes Park was closed in March 2016 due to health and safety concerns, and in July 2016, the theatre was also found to be an earthquake risk.

Submissions were made to the council at a meeting in December and the decision was made to allow community groups the chance to take over the building, provided they present a business case as to how they could run it.

March 30 was set for groups to present a case to council or risk the building being demolished, but an amendment extended this date to give groups longer to put forward their cases. No new date has been set.

Among the submissions, Creative Waikato put forward a case to demolish the theatre.


"The theatre community does not believe Founders should be preserved as a performance or rehearsal space, and that investment in the performing arts should be directed to development of the new regional theatre and to ongoing support of the other theatres," Creative Waikato's submission said.

The submission said that representatives of the current Public submissions on Founders future

Major theatre facilities in Hamilton met to discuss theatre infrastructure — development of a new Waikato Regional Theatre and the future of the existing Founders Theatre.

The result was a clear picture that performing arts infrastructure in Hamilton was now in good health and supported the wide range of community and arts sector needs.

"Each theatre in Hamilton had a specific role in the community which was unique and tailored to its purpose and audience," the submission said.

"These theatres work in synergy with other theatres and there was a noticeable increase in the instances of sharing talent, resources and audiences

"There was no perceived requirement to see the old Founders building re-establish into a theatre or performing arts centre."

Among other submissions, the site of Founders also remains a hot topic as some believe that is where the new Waikato Regional Theatre should be built.

Craig Tomlinson in his submission said it would be visionary of the council to build the new theatre on the Founder's site.

"There is already a well-established legacy associated with the Founders Theatre that is to be beholden, and so to naturally continue this with the building of a new theatre on the same site would be visionary," he said.

Mr Tomlinson wrote that the new theatre would have easy logistical access for visiting artists and staging and would enhance the Boyes Park area.

John Haughie, who is a member of the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra, said in a personal submission he was not in support of the new theatre being built anywhere near the CBD.

"Having been a resident of Hamilton for over 50 years, I find that this suggestion has very little merit, as the CBD is not a convenient location for theatre goers," wrote Mr Haughie.

"We are of course grateful for the very active support from the Momentum Group, but why was the refurbishment option of the existing theatre so readily put aside? It truly is an unsatisfactory compromise."