With a renewed sponsorship deal and grants beginning to roll in, the fortunes of the St James Theatre are on the rise.
The SBS Bank has just renewed its naming rights sponsor agreement with the Gore and Districts St James Theatre Trust, which oversees the running of the theatre.
In 2008 a six-figure sponsorship deal with the Southland Building Society gave the bank naming rights to the theatre for 10 years, and it lapsed at the end of last year.
SBS Bank chief executive Shaun Drylie said he was pleased a three-year sponsorship deal had been signed.
“We did not want to, after a 10-year association, step away from the partnership.
“It’s important for us to continue to support community ventures such as this in Gore,” Mr Drylie said.
He was not prepared to say what the financial details of the sponsorship were.
“Obviously, it’s strong enough and positive enough that SBS St James Theatre wanted to remain with us.
“I think we have struck a good commercial and philanthropic level.”
Trust chairman Craig McIntyre said the relationship was beneficial to the trust.
“It’s money we are earning outside of the structure of the operation,” he said.
The previous sponsorship had been worth $20,000 a year to the trust.
“They’ve decided to renew it at a much less rate.”
The income would be partly used for administration.
“[It] also helps us pay the mortgage that we still have, which is owed to SBS.”
A cheque for $50,000 was presented this week to theatre trust member Yvonne Bannerman by the Gore Pakeke Lions Club.
Lions club chairman Henry McFadzien said members were glad to hear a lift would be installed at the theatre.
“It was unanimously [decided] that we support them as much as we could,” Mr McFadzien said.
The club supported many causes in the town, which more often than not involved young people.
However, at the moment many people could not access the theatre because of mobility issues.
“If the lift’s in place it makes easy access and so we fell right behind the project.”
Mrs Bannerman said the grant was “absolutely wonderful”.
“With an ageing population and longevity in the South, the Pakeke Lions were keen to make this lift become a reality,” Mrs Bannerman said.
About $690,000 will be needed to complete the project for the lift.