Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh have purchased the Bats Theatre, a tiny, experimental theatre in Wellington. The theatre was called the Unity Theatre until 1979, and was the performance hub for the Bats Theatre Company, named for its founders Rodney Bane and David Austin (Bane Austin Theatre Society). For the past ten years, the theatre has been the home of the award-winning theatre company The Bucchanals.
Bacchanals member David Lawrence told Stuff.co.nz, “Raising the money as an organization itself to buy the building was always impossible.” According to him, many people have wished they could “buy that building and give it to Bats, which is essentially what Peter and Fran have done.”
Chris O’Neill, Bats’ business development manager, has already had discussions with Jackson and Walsh about the new direction of the theatre. Walsh said they were planning on “refurbishing the theatre and enhancing the performance space.” But the new owners are not keen to make any radical changes to the atmosphere of the space. O’Neill was quick to calm any fears, saying “It’s not going to become a glass and steel edifice over night; it will still be the Bats that people know and love.”