Fortune Theatre

231 Stuart Street, Dunedin

  • Fortune Theatre.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Derek Smith.
  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Derek Smith.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Registered List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1
List Number 3378 Date Entered 22nd August 1991

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Dunedin City

Region

Otago Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 16 Blk 14 Town of Dunedin

Summaryopen/close

DESCRIPTION:

As a church this building was a significant aspect of the development of Methodism in Dunedin.

It was erected in 1869 to replace an earlier Methodist Church which had proved to be architecturally unviable. The building was sold in 1977 to the Fortune Theatre Trust, and is currently used as a playhouse theatre.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

This building, as Trinity Church, represents part of the development of the Methodist Church in Dunedin. Its significant change from a place of worship to a playhouse in 1977 was an example of an innovative and successful reuse of a redundant ecclesiastical building.

ARCHITECTURAL QUALITY:

Designed and built by one of Dunedin's leading architects in the late nineteenth century, and using an architectural style and construction which is a feature of Dunedin city, the former Holy Trinity Church was a very fine smaller scale church. On the Fortune Theatre it maintains its architectural integrity and streetscape quality.

TOWNSCAPE/LANDMARK VALUE:

The Fortune Theatre occupies a prominent inner city corner, and forms part of an architecturally attractive streetscape.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Lawson, Robert Arthur

Born in Scotland, Lawson (1833-1902) began his professional career in Perth. At the age of 25 he moved to Melbourne and was engaged in goldmining and journalism before resuming architectural practice. In 1862 Lawson sailed for Dunedin, where his sketch plans had won the competition for the design of First Church. This was built 1867-73. Lawson went on to become one of the most important architects in New Zealand. First Church is regarded as his masterpiece and one of the finest nineteenth century churches in New Zealand.

He was also responsible for the design of the Trinity Church (now Fortune Theatre), Dunedin (1869-70), the East Taieri Presbyterian Church (1870), and Knox Church, Dunedin (1874). He designed Park's School (1864) and the ANZ Bank (originally Union Bank, 1874). In Oamaru he designed the Bank of Otago (later National Bank building, 1870) and the adjoining Bank of New South Wales (now Forrester Gallery, 1881).

See also: Ledgerwood, Norman, 2013. 'R.A. Lawson: Victorian Architect of Dunedin'. Historic Cemeteries Conservation NZ.

Uren, E.W.

Additional informationopen/close

Notable Features

Stonework; bar tracery of windows.

Construction Details

Local bluestone with Oamaru stone facings and decoration, slate roof.

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1905

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 4 Otago and Southland, Cyclopedia Company, Christchurch, 1905

p185

Knight, 1988

Hardwicke Knight and Niel Wales, Buildings of Dunedin: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to New Zealand's Victorian City, John McIndoe, Dunedin, 1988

p126-154

Mullan, 1981

D S Mullan. The Trinity Fortune Affair, Trinity Methodist Trust, Dunedin, 1981,

p5-6

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.