Baycourt History

Where it all began

After nine years of planning and fundraising by an enthusiastic group of local residents, Baycourt Community and Arts Centre was opened on 26 April 1983 by the Prince and Princess of Wales. 
The royal couple inspected the Exhibition Space, viewed local arts and crafts and was treated to a five-minute extract from Tauranga Repertory’s latest production “The Magistrate”. After the official opening, the couple strolled from Durham Street to Hamilton Street to talk to the thousands of people gathered to see them. 
The gala opening concert by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra was held on 28 July 1983. The tickets for what was the first of many diverse events to be held at the venue sold out in three hours. 

Growing up

In 1987, the Baycourt Trust Board took control of the centre and the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ moved from Town Hall and was installed in Baycourt. The Baycourt Trust Board collapsed on 8 August 1988, and management of Baycourt reverted back to the Council.

Bob Addison was appointed Manager in 1989 and refocused Baycourt as a community venue. Bob produced the show High Society, which helped put Baycourt on the map as well as gathering community involvement.

Baycourt became a focal place for musicians, actors, artist and craftspeople of all kinds, including overseas performers.

In 2001, the star dressing rooms were refitted and the 537 seats in the auditorium were replaced with 588 new seats. Additional women’s toilets were added in 2002: until this time, the length of intervals was often dictated by the waiting line at this facility.

Baycourt today

Baycourt celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2013 and continues to deliver as Tauranga’s premier performing arts venue.

In 2013, the foyer got a long-awaited refresh with the bar and ticketing areas also getting a facelift, and Baycourt was the runner-up in the National Small Venue of the Year Awards. In 2014, the X Space was refurbished to create a flexible black box theatre space with tiered seating.  More than 20 shows were held in the first year, with great feedback from performers and audience alike.

The team at Baycourt is committed to delivering a balanced programme that enriches, engages and contributes to our vibrant and rapidly growing community.