photos by Tohu Whenua
10 Inspiring Dunedin Venues
by Raashka Mannie | 22 Apr 2021
As a self-proclaimed ‘literary city,’ it makes sense that Dunedin is a lover of everything artsy: museums, theatres, galleries and more. Everything to do with the evocative and enigmatic world of creativity is fair game when it comes to Dunedin. Resultantly, there are many venues dotted throughout Otago that carry this reverence, serving as both spaces for artists to express themselves and functions to unfold in unparalleled elegance - inspiring, to say the least. Doused with history and fitted out with plenty of helpful audiovisual equipment, these Dunedin venues range from celebrated museums and centres of learning to galleries that know how to put on a show - all available for hire for your upcoming Dunedin event. For the full list of Dunedin venues for hire, click here.
Image by Mayfair Theatre
You can’t go wrong with Mayfair Theatre, opened in 1914 as an 800-seat King Edward picture theatre and putting on show after show ever since. It still retains its early 1900s ambience but has been modernised to accommodate groups and events in addition to performances. The auditorium is a unique space that can seat 400 guests. This Dunedin venue frequently hosts stage shows, school recitals, concerts and conferences. Along with the large auditorium, they have meeting rooms and an intermission room to accommodate any of your event requirements. The Mayfair Theatre is currently run by the Mayfair Theatre Charitable Trust which aims to provide an affordable venue for local groups to showcase their talents. You’ll be surrounded by the best creative minds in the region at Mayfair Theatre, full of inspiration and a knack for hosting incredible functions.
Image by Otago Museum
Education and art blend together at Otago Museum, an icon of the city and a fantastic venue option for any function. Versatile and unique, this centrally-located museum boasts a total of 10 spaces to choose between. It can accommodate a total of 850 guests and features eight breakout rooms. From the flourishing Tropical Forest and spacious Atrium to the Theomin Balcony and Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum is a favourite when it comes to Dunedin venues for hire. They are happy to host cocktail parties, galas, showcases and everything in between. The team at Otago Museum is available for complete event management, helping you organise and plan as you go, and offering equipment hire, on-site audiovisual assistance and bespoke catering. Otago Museum is a hub for education, learning and discovery, celebrating a vibrant history and sharing it with all.
Image by Regent Theatre
Regent Theatre brings you a unique Dunedin venue from top to bottom. The Regent Theatre is abundant with history, having opened on 1st June 1928 as a 2000-seat cinema, making quite the statement for its time. The interior of this Dunedin venue is still elaborately decorated, capturing the essence of the theatre scene at the time and bringing a certain sense of opulence to all events hosted. Regent Theatre features detailed high ceilings, a grand staircase and a separate dining area. The Dunedin venue frequently hosts all kinds of functions, including weddings, performances, product launches, shows, conferences and cocktail functions. With their ample theatre space, they have a variety of rooms to host events of every kind, including more intimate meetings and such in their private rooms. The events team at the Regent Theatre would be delighted to make your day as glamorous as possible, bringing touches of old-world charm to your Dunedin event.
Toitū Otago Settlers Museum
Image by Visit Christchurch NZ
Features floor-to-ceiling windows that offer an expansive view of Dunedin’s Heritage District, Toitū Otago Settlers Museum is one of Dunedin’s most stunning views. Choose between Josephine Foyer, Auditorium, NZR Foyer, Social Hall and NZR Lounge for your upcoming Dunedin event. Each space is full of personality, standing as sleek and modern function spaces that can accommodate up to 515 guests. Depending on the nature of your event, you have access to state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment. Surrounded by stunning art deco design, or taking in fascinating exhibitions from New Zealand’s past, the choice is yours. Moments from the Octagon, Toitū Otago Settlers Museum is a versatile and fun venue choice for any event type. With unlimited access to fountains of information and avenues of learning, as well as tours, displays and more, this Dunedin venue makes for the ideal choice for events that want to be surrounded by culture.
Dunedin Art Gallery
Image by ODT
Welcome to one of New Zealand's four major metropolitan art galleries, the Dunedin Art Gallery. Established in 1884, Dunedin Art Gallery was New Zealand’s very first art gallery - a true accomplishment and testament to the city’s love for art. Along with mind-blowing exhibitions and work from a variety of creatives, they also boast unique spaces for hosting events. The Gallery is located in Dunedin town centre and is within walking distance of some fantastic accommodation options. Their experienced staff will be with you from start to finish, helping you to plan and organise your upcoming function; choose between their conference room, auditorium, foyer and specialised wedding space. The Dunedin Art Gallery is an extraordinary venue that frequently hosts cocktail functions, conferences, dinners and weddings. Fully-licensed and open to your preferred caterer, this history-rich and expressive venue is a lovely choice for your event.
Otago Art Society
Image by Tohu Whenua
Proud to be the first art society ever established in New Zealand, the Otago Art Society is a celebration of art lovers throughout the region. They operate on the first floor of the historic Dunedin Railway Station, showcasing work from their members, national talent and special exhibitions. When it comes to their galleries for hire, you’re offered a choice of four stunning spaces: Hope Gallery, Anderson Lloyd, Art Zone and Otago Daily Times. You can hire them together or individually, alongside more specific spaces such as a Sales Gallery, kitchen/classroom, as well as cosy offices and storage space for anything you may need to stow away during your event. Otago Art Society rents out their spaces primarily for exhibitions, but you can always reach out to them to inquire about other types of functions as required.
New Athenaeum Theatre
Image by Expedia
Settled in the heart of Dunedin’s bustling town centre, New Athenaeum Theatre is a flexible venue available for hire. The theatre is an adaptable space that fronts as a performance venue but can also accommodate meetings, conferences, seminars, exhibitions, and more - and be utilised as a co-working space. This Dunedin venue offers a cosy, functional theatre for hire and aims to be a flexible space for performers across the board. Well-maintained and noise-controlled, it’s the epitome of Dunedin’s artistic community, established in 2016 by The Dunedin Collaborative Theatre Trust, acting on the need for a space that could cater to both creatives and events. While the primary goal of the venue is to provide support for established and new groups in the creative and performing industries, New Athenaeum Theatre is still one of Dunedin’s go-to options for a theatre venue with plenty of space, acoustics and freedom.
Dunedin Community Gallery
Image by Tracey Barnett
Another wonderfully cosy space to raise a toast to the love of art is Dunedin Community Gallery. Available for hire for exhibitions, this Dunedin venue is located in the city centre and offers kitchen facilities, display paraphernalia and exhibition lighting. There’s no staff at the gallery to assist; they grant you the full independent use of the space for your upcoming Dunedin exhibition, allowing the venue to be hired for a maximum of two weeks at a time. With a maximum capacity of 120 guests, Dunedin Community Gallery is just a short stroll from the Octagon, a variety of incredible restaurants and accommodation spaces, as well as other attractions in the city. This Dunedin venue is designed to make hosting exhibitions as a local, budding creative more accessible, and is an excellent choice for intimate productions.
Image by Playhouse Theatre
Home to Dunedin’s Repertory Society, Playhouse Theatre is all about offering its expansive space as a venue to hire for local and visiting productions and festival performances. This colourful Dunedin venue has a maximum capacity of 129 guests, kitted out with all the audiovisual equipment you could need to stage a fabulous production, from lighting to sound gear - they’ll even supply the required audiovisual assistance if they have someone available to lend a hand. Upstairs, there’s a large kitchen for catering purposes and another function space for milling and a breakaway space. Playhouse Theatre also boasts a foyer and box office, giving your Dunedin event the best production value from the moment your guests step into the venue.
Allen Hall Theatre
Image by Dunedin Music
Part of the illustrious University of Otago, Allen Hall Theatre is one of their oldest and busiest venues for hire - over a century old since its building. It first opened its doors in April 1914 as part of the university’s first student union building, named after Dunedin politician and former University Chancellor, Sir James Allen. Now home to the highly successful and long-standing Lunchtime Theatre series, this Dunedin venue sports top-of-the-line audiovisual equipment, flexible seating arrangements, offices, rehearsal, teaching spaces, the theatre library, as well as the boutique costume and prop collection. Allen Hall Theatre has grown into a testament to Dunedin’s on-going love for all things creative, a centrepiece to the university’s decorated history, and is a wonderful choice for events and performances should you be lucky enough to snag a booking.