Live art lighting-up lives.
To create safe spaces for artists and audiences to expand possibilities.
From a gorgeous three level repurposed historic building we nurture creative talent and showcase exciting new NZ performance. BATS is more than its building - he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. We value our people and the unique cultural identity and history of Wellington and Aotearoa. We seek to decolonise spaces and remove the barriers to success through working openly together.
BATS vision is to light-up lives through our work. We do this by identifying and realising the value BATS brings to its whānau, and developing new and dynamic ways to co-create. Through the meeting of digital and live art, bolstering BATS as a hub of creativity and showcasing diverse festival activity we support career sustainability and wellbeing for all.
Over the years BATS has been the spark that lit the careers of many household names. We’re the place to get up close to Aotearoa’s next generation of performers, writers, directors, designers and event technicians.
With a cosy boutique bar and art gallery on site, a night out at BATS is a unique and immersive Wellington experience.
Coming to shows at BATS makes you an important part of our vibrant, passionate, and dynamic community.
Nau mai, piki mai, haere mai!
How is BATS funded?
BATS is a not-for-profit and sustained with the support of our core funders Creative New Zealand and the Wellington City Council, and through the generosity of people like you.
In an increasingly challenging funding environment BATS relies more and more on donations from trusts and individuals.
The effects of COVID-19 and the restrictions on public gatherings has had a significant impact on BATS’ activities and abilities to generate revenue to operate.
As we continue to find ways to present live art to our audiences in this changing landscape, your support and engagement bolsters our enthusiasm and ability to deliver to our artists and community.
Who runs BATS?
A dedicated team of hard-working staff keeps BATS running. We have eight core staff and a brilliant bunch of casual box office staff, bar staff, house technicians and volunteers.
Our Chief Executive reports to BATS' Board of Directors who provide valuable governance of the business. We all work to keep our vibrant community of performance makers and art lovers at the heart of everything we do.
Who owns BATS?
BATS is operated by BATS Theatre Limited (formerly BATS Holdings Limited), a company wholly owned by the BATS Theatre Charitable Trust.
Our iconic theatre building is owned by The Wellington Film Properties Trust who purchased number 1 Kent Terrace in late 2011, generously securing the building for BATS’ use. They undertook strengthening work and an incredible renovation in 2013 and 2014.
BATS rents 1 Kent Terrace from The Wellington Film Properties Trust. BATS' landlords are not involved in the governance, operation or funding of BATS theatre, but we literally wouldn't be where we are today without their amazing support.
To hear more about BATS' incredible beginnings, listen to this great interview with Ken Duncum, recorded by Radio New Zealand in conjunction with the release of the anthology, BATS Plays, a collection of seminal plays produced at BATS in the eighties and nineties and co-written with Rebecca Rodden which you can buy here.
BATS’ philosophy is at the heart of how we operate. It informs everything we do. Here are the most important things to know about how BATS operates:
Inspiring people, new ideas, innovation and exciting performance, nurturing the lifeblood of theatre practice in Aotearoa New Zealand.
To provide a supportive, professional and accessible theatre venue that fosters the development of practitioners, audiences and New Zealand performance work.
BATS is not-for-profit; we’re a registered charity.
We’re not in it for the money and that’s how we like it!
BATS is an open house for artists and audiences.
Our open pitching policy and flexible hireage make it easy to stage shows here, and our low ticket prices mean that experiencing bold new performance is affordable for all.
BATS is a professionally run presenting venue.
We don’t create the work performed here, but we help make it happen! We support groups of independent artists with our time, energy and resources to get their work in front of an audience.
BATS average ticket price is just $15.
We believe that experiencing theatre should be affordable. A ticket to a BATS’ show is usually the same as going to the movies, or even cheaper.
The majority of money spent on tickets goes straight to the artists.
Coming to BATS makes you a champion of the arts as you’re directly supporting the artists you see on stage.
There are no up-front venue costs to putting on a show at BATS.
Hireage is only 15% of ticket sales, and we work to keep venue & ticket fees low.