Auckland audiences have embraced the reopening of some of the city’s most iconic arts and entertainment venues, with more than 14,000 people attending events and experiences at Auckland Live theatres and spaces.

Under Covid-19 Alert Level 1, venues including the Aotea Centre, Auckland Town Hall, The Civic, and Bruce Mason Centre reopened in early October with no restrictions on crowd sizes, or the need for social distancing at the live theatre, exhibitions, concerts and events that took place in central Auckland and Takapuna.

Reopening weekend included 16 events including Mary Poppins, Auckland Youth Orchestra, New Zealand Labour Party Election Night, Artweek Auckland, Shapeshifter, and more.

Matinee and evening performances of Mary Poppins played to packed houses and standing ovations from crowds in the iconic Civic Theatre. The much-anticipated season launch marked the largest theatre gathering in the post-Covid world.

Auckland Town Hall’s The Great Hall hosted a 2000-plus sold-out crowd for the Shapeshifter concert, before being transformed into Labour Party HQ, and then hosting the Auckland Youth Orchestra across the weekend.

Auckland Live and Auckland Conventions, Venues & Events director, Robbie Macrae, says the first full weekend of operations under Level 1 was a reaffirming start to what many are hoping will be a long and successful spring/summer arts and events season in Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau.

“People are making re-engagement with live arts and performances a priority. We’re seeing the pleasure of that re-engagement in their smiles and laughter, their feedback to our front of house staff, and of course in the uptake of tickets for all types of events,” he says.

Seeing the pure joy on fans’ faces, large crowds filling venues, the atmosphere of live, and being able to attend events in full swing reminds us why we do this, how much we love what we do and how good it feels to be back. There’s a renewed appreciation for things we may have taken for granted in the past, and it feels as though everyone – myself included – have a renewed sense of joy and passion for what we do which is connecting fans with the live experiences they love and helping to create lifelong memories,” Justin Pule, Managing Director of Ticketmaster New Zealand, says.