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Open Christchurch festival a success

Hannah Powell
chch pic
A CSO dress rehearsal was open to the public at the Douglas Lilburn Auditorium  Peanut Productions (Supplied)

The inaugural Open Christchurch festival has been deemed a success, attracting over 12,000 visitors through its doors on the weekend of May 15-16.

An event celebrating architectural excellence, Open Christchurch welcomed attendees to explore 46 different buildings often closed to the general public. It included 35 architectural-based activities ranging from behind-the-scenes tours to children's workshops.

600 people attended the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra's open rehearsal at the internationally acclaimed Douglas Lilburn Auditorium at the Town Hall. All backstage tours at the Isaac Theatre Royal were booked out.


Mayor Lianne Dalziel opened the doors to the Mayor's Lounge, a room famous for its Southern Alps and city views.

"It was a fantastic experience to welcome so many people from so many walks of life," Dalziel said.

Dalziel most enjoyed meeting those who used to work in the Postal Centre. They told her that before it was the Civic Offices, the Mayor's Lounge was the cafeteria.

Te Pūtahi Centre for Architecture and City Making is overwhelmed by the positive feedback.

Open Christchurch director Jessica Halliday is thrilled with how the festival was embraced by attendees from far and wide.

Inspired by how architecture speaks to the way people live, what they value, and what they aspire to, Halliday said: "I suggest people really look at the buildings and the city around them and think about what it tells them about our society."

Tu Pūtahi plans to run the festival as an annual event. The next Open Christchurch festival will be held on the weekend of April 30 and May 1 next year.