Wellington’s iconic BATS Theatre is serving up a smorgasbord of piping-hot, decadent and delicious live acts to
celebrate turning thirty. Wellington audiences will experience an unmissable one-off variety show featuring performances
and performers who have graced the BATS stage over the past 3 decades.
The venue has been a beloved part of the Wellington arts landscape for many years, but began life in its current
iteration in April 1989 when drama school students Simon Elson and Simon Bennett reopened the theatre as a home for
artists to try out new ideas. Three decades – and one major renovation later, the theatre is preparing a special
programme of events across the year to salute the artists of its past, present and future.
“BATS has been a hot house for performance for thirty years which has made a huge impact on the arts here in Te
Whanganui-a-Tara but also throughout New Zealand ” says General Manager Jonathon Hendry. “People like Robyn Malcolm,
Taika Waititi, Rachel House, and The Naked Samoans all performed early work here and of course Flight of the Conchords’
first shows were often at BATS,” he says. “This year, we’re celebrating with a host of events both honouring our past
and celebrating what lies ahead for performance in Aotearoa.”
These events include the one-night-only 30th Birthday BATStravaganza, which will take place down the road from BATS, at the Embassy Theatre. “We like to say that BATS is bigger than the
building,” says 30th Anniversary project manager Cassandra Tse, “so we’re partnering with our neighbours at the Embassy
Theatre to make sure our celebrations are inclusive as possible. BATS has always been a very intimate space, but you can
fit a lot more people in the Embassy!”
BATStravaganza will feature performers who have been part of the rich history of BATS, including musicians, comedians and dancers.
Some of the artists performing on the night include Jo Randerson, Jacob Rajan, Donna Brookbanks, Michael Galvin and Tim
Balme, Gareth Farr, Footnote Dance, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer and Nikita Tu-Bryant.
The variety show is to be followed by a late-night party back at BATS’ home base at 1 Kent Terrace, where guests will be
able to dance the night away to live music from local artists. More events celebrating thirty years of BATS will be
announced throughout the year.
The 30th Birthday BATStravaganza kicks off on Saturday April 6th at The Embassy Theatre. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased through the BATS
Theatre website at www.bats.co.nz