The future of Hamilton's Founders Theatre remains unclear, after more than two years of closure.

The theatre, which has hosted productions, performances and school graduations for 50 years lies empty, the sounds of the fountain the only sound now coming from venue. Hamilton City Council has said Founders' future remains undetermined.

"The theatre sits on the West Town Belt, and the council has asked staff to produce a West Town Belt Masterplan which will inform further decisions around Founders," the council says. "That plan, in draft form, is expected to be reported back to the council before the end of the year."

Maintenance costs came to $35,648 over the 2017/18 Financial Year and a further $22,000 has been budgeted over the current year.


While Founders' future remains unclear, the Waikato Regional Theatre is moving full speed ahead and will receive $6.4 million from the council-controlled Vibrant Hamilton Trust.

On August 6 the trust resolved to close and pay its entire trust fund to Momentum Waikato, which is leading the project to develop the theatre.

Trustee Thomas Gibbons told the council the funding would act as a kick-starter to the council's financial contribution to the project.

Hamilton City councillor Mark Bunting said he was torn over the theatre project, as it took money away from the community sector which was already pleading for crumbs from the table.

"We are saying sorry but the whole fund has gone to the theatre," Mr Bunting said.
Councillor Paula Southgate supported the theatre move, but was concerned about the loss of funds for community groups.

"My personal preference would have been to allow the public to have had a bit more say on this," Ms Southgate said. "I am not going to stand against this because we are all for making this theatre the most successful theatre it can be."

Chair of Momentum Waikato Leonard Gardner spoke at the meeting, saying the theatre project is on track.

"It is taking shape quickly from our side of things," Mr Gardner said.

He reiterated to council that they will need to pay only the $25 million towards the theatre, along with the operational costs.