Riverlea Theatre has been a part of the theatre scene in Hamilton for over 30 years, and in that time has been home to hundreds of productions and thousands of talented thespians, musicians, directors, producers, costume designers, sound and lighting crew, set builders, stage crew and a range of other talented people that it takes to put on a show.
Riverlea is proud to be a truly local and independant theatre, and we rely on and appreciate the support of our audiences.
Riverlea Theatre was founded in 1984 as a joint venture between Musikmakers (Hamilton), Hamilton Playbox, Theatre Technique Trust and Waikato Society of Potters.
Since 1984 Riverlea Theatre has been the home for Hamilton Playbox and Musikmakers (Hamilton). When the building was taken over it had been empty for some time and was essentially derilect. The Riverlea Theatre and Arts Centre (Inc.) was established in 1984 to oversee the management and conversion of the old Riverlea Ballroom into a theatre and "home" for Hamilton Playbox Repertory Society (Inc.) and Musikmakers (Hamilton) Inc. Thanks to the support received from patrons, Hamilton City Council, The Arts Council, and a number of commercial organisations, Riverlea Theatre has become, and is recognised as, a valuable community asset.
Amongst the tasks that need to be done to convert to a theatre: build a flexible stage, build auditorium rostrums, install lighting system (plus electrical system that could support it) and sound system, fit out a commercial kitchen and bar, extensive interior decoration, installation of air-conditioning, construction and fitting out of a separate workshop facility, fit out of wardrobe storage and shop, fit out of rehearsal studio. While most of this happened in the first few years, the on going maintenance, the need to adopt new technologies and opportunities that arise means investment in the facilities is continuous.
In 2009 Riverlea Theatre Trust celebrated the 25th anniversary that the building has existed as Riverlea Theatre (our "temporary" home since 1984).