Residents will be able to see inside the restored Christchurch Town Hall for the first time in eight years at public open days at the end of February 2019.

You'll have a chance to see inside the Town Hall for the first time since it was damaged in the February 2011 earthquake, before ticketed events begin on 1 March 2019.

The open days will include a self-guided tour through the restored Douglas Lilburn Auditorium, the Avon Room (the former Boaters Restaurant), Victoria and Limes Rooms. The James Hay Theatre is still a work in progress but you'll get a sneak peek at the space.

Town Hall interior

The Town Hall is being strengthened to 100 per cent of the New Building Standard and significantly refurbished, ensuring it is a modern, world-class facility that can be enjoyed for many years to come. We have identified opportunities to bring the Town Hall up to modern standards as construction has progressed, while retaining its unique heritage features.

A purpose-built facility is also being built for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (CSO), giving it a permanent home in the complex for the first time. This building will be completed later in 2019.

In May 2018, the Council approved $152.2 million in funding for the Town Hall plus the purpose-built CSO facility. On 19 December 2019, it approved additional funding of up to $15 million.

Two time-lapse cameras provide a glimpse of what's going on inside the Town Hall, one inside the Douglas Lilburn Auditorium and a second outside facing the northern elevation (Kilmore Street). See what's happening at the Town Hall(external link).

Town Hall timeline

June 2015

Christchurch City Council votes to fully repair and restore the earthquake-damaged Town Hall at a cost of $127.5 million.

Hawkins is appointed as the main contractor and site preparations begin.

The option of building a new 1500 seat auditorium and 600 seat theatre on a new site – as outlined in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan – at a cost of $193.5 million was considered by the Council, but rejected.

November 2015

Work to strengthen the Town Hall’s badly damaged foundations begins.

January 2016

Approval is given to upgrade the Auditorium’s stage by installing stage lifts.

The decision is also taken to improve the Avon Room's (former Boaters restaurant) accessibility by making the floor all one level.

Mid 2016

Approval is given to add acoustics to the James Hay Theatre to improve the sound quality.

June 2016

As part of its 2016/17 Annual Plan process, the Council adjusts the budget for the Town Hall to take into account inflationary pressures. The adjustment takes the total approved budget to $133.1 million.

December 2016

A fly tower (or theatrical rigging system) is added to the scope of works for the James Hay Theatre.

May 2017

Retractable seating is approved for the James Hay Theatre.

July 2017

Agreement is given, in principle, for the Cambridge Room to be rebuilt as a purpose-built facility for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

March 2018

Approval is given for additional security cameras to be installed in the Town Hall.

May 2018

Council approves additional budget for improvements to the Town Hall, bringing the total budget to $152.2 million.

February 2019

The first areas in the Town Hall, including the Douglas Lilburn uditorium, the foyer, the Avon Room (former function room), the Victoria and Limes Rooms, are complete. Public open days will run from 23-24 February.

March 2019

The first event, CSO with Shapeshifter, will go ahead in the newly restored Town Hall on 1 March 2019.