BATS is the space where people rising in the world of theatre can come though, the theatre’s executive director Jonathon Hendry told the club on 30 November.
John Bishop reports.
He traced the history of BATS from being very much the experimental fringe to now being an established risk taker with its own building in Courtenay Place – the former Order of Buffaloes Lodge which was bought by Sir Peter Jackson and gifted to BATS.

Jonathon who has been with BATS since 2018 described BATS as a cross between “off, off Broadway and off, off, off Broadway”, in contrast to both Downstage and Circa, the two other main theatres in Wellington.

The key role BATS played in Wellington theatre was development: of young people, of new work and of new groups.

“BATS is about taking risks,” he said.

And faced with the prospect of a lengthy shutdown during the covid pandemic, BATS was forced to innovate and take risks in order to continue in any form at all.

“We put a ghost light in the bar window to symbolise our commitment to come through this period,” Jonathon said. “And so we moved into digital delivery of our products and services and built our connections with the
business community.

“Artists are not coming back to BATS quickly but still, 2022 has been a bumper year for live performance.