The Civic, one of the few remaining Atmospheric Theatres in the world, was built in 1929 and specifically designed as a 'movie palace' for talking pictures ('talkies'), which had just been introduced to New Zealand. The first purpose-built cinema of this type in the country, The Civic has become a much-loved Auckland landmark and entertainment venue.
The Civic design has Indian-inspired motifs in the public foyer including seated Buddhas, twisted columns and domed ceilings. The main auditorium, with 2,378 seats, features turrets, minarets, spires, tiled roofs, Abyssinian panther statues and a soft-top ceiling which gives the effect of a domed blue sky with twinkling stars and floating clouds - a recreation of the Southern Hemisphere sky-scape.
The Civic had a somewhat turbulent history, but was restored to its former glory in the late 1990s by Auckland City Council. The restoration provided the opportunity to convert to live theatre capacity and upgrade to modern movie technology. As a result The Civic has become a popular venue for major touring shows while once again providing Auckland’s most sumptuous cinema experience. The Civic is considered the home of Musicals in New Zealand.
Alongside recent touring musicals Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins, Wicked and Annie, The Civic has hosted leading international singers and entertainers such as Bob Dylan, Roberta Flack, Elaine Page, Katie Melua, The Seekers, UB40, Counting Crows, City and Colour Marcel Marceau, Eric Idle, Hugh Laurie, David Sedaris as well as hosting the annual NZ International Film Festival
The Civic location map
Corner Queen Street & Wellesley Street
Ph (09) 309 2677
Download a PDF seating map of The Civic Auditorium