Make centre useful for performances – ah, no don’t!

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An international violin competition organiser says a Queenstown conference centre needs to double as a performance venue. 

Anne Rodda, who organises the biennial Michael Hill International Violin Competition held in Queenstown and Auckland, was among speakers at a submissions hearing yesterday (Tuesday) on a proposed $50 million convention centre. 

Rodda says the centre should be designed not just to attract her event but also symphony orchestras, chamber music and ballet. 

“We’re enthusiastically behind the centre with a caveat because for it to work for concerts there needs to be much greater foresight at this particular stage. 

“For us, acoustics are the number one requirement. That’s not something that can be done afterwards, it has to be part of the design and concept stage.” 

Rodda said that major touring companies are leaving Queenstown off their itineraries. 

Arts events also brought high-end visitors to town, she said. 

Local conference organiser Alastair McIlwrick, however, warned the hearing against providing for a performing arts venue in a conference centre. 

“Keep it as a convention centre, not a performing arts centre, which will make the costs bill horrific.”