'Hive of industry' as Regent rebuilds

Redevelopment at the Regent Theatre has reached fever-pitch with just 10 weeks remaining before the doors reopen for the first public event in 10 months - the International Film Festival.

With the major construction work all but complete, lead contractor Amalgamated Builders Ltd (ABL) and waves of specialist contractors have moved into the finishing phase of the $7.6 million project.

The festival opening on August 5 will reveal a luxurious theatre that highlights the best of the past while being well-equipped for the future.

Regent Theatre manager Sarah Anderson, who has been watching as the theatre interior has been largely demolished and then rebuilt, is delighted with the progress.

"It is all starting to take shape now - the scaffolding has come down and now we can start to see what the final result will be," she said.

In the past few days, Regent Theatre technical manager Nelson Miles has been excited to see the team from Theatre Systems and Design make a start on installing the head blocks for 62 counterweights and four "pan masking" counterweights and their associated pulleys, which will make up the flying system.

"As these start to go in, I can already see how much simpler and safer it will make things for us to install a show," Mr Miles said.

Describing the site as "a hive of industry", Mr Miles said completion of the auditorium repainting meant recarpeting could begin, followed by about 1650 seats.

Otago Theatre Trust chairman Mike Shield was delighted with how well the project was coming together.

"It's just brilliant," he said.

The stage floor has been laid, flying gear installation has started, high painting is done, and the lift has arrived for the dressing rooms.

"ABL have been very good at keeping things on track, and now we are starting to wind up towards completion."

Audiences at the International Film Festival could expect to see a huge difference in the theatre when it re-opened, Mr Shield said.

He continued to receive great feedback on the project and said many people could not wait for it to reopen.

"And there will be some fantastically nice seats to sit on."