NOTE: This post probably contains quite a few errors and an inaccurate timeline – there is very little info online about old Christchurch venues, so I welcome all corrections and additions!
Also known as: Metro Cinemas
Location: 103-5 Worcester Street, Central Christchurch
Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake
Active as a live music venue: 2002 – 2006
Capacity: Around 300?
Excellent multi-use space established by the Therapeutic Arts Trust in 2000 – Ciaran Fox was originally involved before Adam Hayward joined the board in 2001 and took over directorship in 2002.
The entire compound was composed of a few parts which served quite a few purposes:
- The main brick-lined hall-space, which retained the projection screen behind the stage – formerly the Metro Cinema. Run by Marcus Winstanley until 2005, with Joseph Veale taking over until Creation closed in 2006.
- A foyer used as an office, ticket sales and retail gallery run by Cas Simonsen. The first floor functioned as a shop housing retailers like Kate Wyrd’s Wyrd Clothing store, and the top floor was a drop in and artist studio.
- A separate building down-stairs was a concrete bunker used as a band practice space, Project Legit’s graffiti workshop (managed by Miriama McDonald from 2004 – 2006) and at one stage a small gallery .
From the very beginning Creation was an All-Ages friendly venue, hosting early shows for Out of Kilter and show-casing many of Christchurch’s up-and-coming bands.
Though they did have a small bar for limited alcohol sales, the venue existed on government funding – housing the Artist Wage (until the Ministry of Social Development was disbanded in 2006), and as such was opened up for a wide variety of creative exploits. From live music and movie screenings (often with the Canterbury Film Society) to dance, art, and graffiti.
Creation’s main venue was previously the cinema itself, and as such had a large screen behind the stage. The stage itself was massive – one of the biggest in Christchurch, with the PA system well to the sides and fold-back speakers lining the front.
The space was flanked with long curtains covering a brick interior and there was a sound-desk around 2/3rd’s of the way back from the stage. The venue usually had excellent sound – no surprise considering that over the course of the venues lifetime Joseph Veale and Marcus Winstanley (both excellent local sound guys) were the in-house managers.
Creation hosted a whole swag of live shows with varying degrees of success. I saw touring bands play to an empty hall (excellent Napier/Hamilton pop-hardcore group Amy Racecar and spazzy Auckland group Body Corporate), local groups absolutely pack the place out (Christchurch’s own spazz kings Leper Ballet), even a handful of international performers (The Mountain Goats, Lou Barlow, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy) with thoroughly mixed audiences.
One of my proudest moments was a show I put together at Creation back in 2004 – I’d become friends with Mary-Rose and Brian Crook of The Renderers and managed to persuade them to put on a show along with The Terminals – who Brian was still playing guitar for at the time.
Though I figured this was a momentous show, things took on an even greater magnitude when I got a call a couple days before the show – Hamish Kilgour had heard about the show and politely asked if he could join the bill! Absolutely stunned me – plus it was a terrific gig.
Unfortunately Creation followed a similar pattern to most venues that are dependent on NZ funding – with the disbanding of the Ministry of Social Development in 2006, Creation struggled to maintain financial viability. Only half a decade after it was opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark, Christchurch’s best multi-faceted community space now had to close.
Thankfully Creation signaled the beginning of a new era in Christchurch live venues – paving the way for many subsequent venues and promoters (such as All-Ages group Red Panda) to get moving with their own shows.
- 1986: The Metro Cinemas opens at 103 Worcester Street – one of 3 cinema’s within the same stretch of Worcester Street (along with the Mayfair and the Little Odeon).
- 2002: Creation opens as a shared-used performance space, though the screen remains. The Christchurch Film Society continues to show films here.
- 2006: Creation closes due to a lack of continued funding.
- 2010 / 2011: Damaged in the Canterbury Earthquakes, eventually demolished to make way for a car park.
- Canterbury Film Society Entry
- Kete Christchurch photo of Metro Cinemas