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History

Founders Theatre

Hamilton's iconic Founders Theatre was designed by eminent local firm White, De Lisle and Jenkins and the building officially opened on 17 November 1962.

It is Hamilton's largest and best known theatrical venue with a capacity of 1,250 and is one of the best-known and most successful venues in New Zealand. Located on the triangular corner of Tristram Street and Norton Road, Founders Theatre hosts a wide range of entertainment and performing arts events every year.

In 1973 a major piece by one of New Zealand's most significant artists Ralph Hotere was commissioned to grace the entranceway of Founders Theatre. The work's horizontal lines reference the Waikato River whilst vertical lines refer to the activities in the theatre and the circles represent 7 heavens. Although it wasn't accepted immediately, indeed Geoff Fairburn the local art critic at the time compared the effect of the mural "to a trendy undertaker's parlour" it is an integral part of the venue and a work of national significance.