The Meteor Theatre has been a part of the Hamilton cultural landscape since it was first built in 1900 as an aerated water bottling factory by local bottler and brewer C.L Innes and Company (of Waikato Breweries). The Innes Tartan building stood strong until the 1960s when Waikato Breweries was sold to Lion.
After that, the building that became The Meteor underwent several transformations. Of its many iterations over the years, there’s none more iconic than when it became Skateworld from the 1970s until the 1980s. Skateworld remains a fond memory for many Hamiltonians, not only as a skating rink, but also as a music venue as well.
In the 1980s, interest in the performing arts in Hamilton rose as new groups were born and new spaces were created and, in 1996, the Hamilton City Council purchased the building and converted it into a black box-style theatre and, thus The Meteor Theatre was born.
From then, The Meteor became occupied by artists and companies looking to create an inclusive and accessible arts community. In 2007, part of the interior was renovated to create an open mezzanine office area for proposed creative industry initiatives, becoming Soda (now the Creative Cluster).
However, as costs rose and usage declined, the Hamilton City Council looked at 1 Victoria Street as a potential asset to be sold. Seeing the detriment that this would do to the creative community, a group of like-minded members of the arts community came together and, in 2012, the One Victoria Trust was established.
On the 1st of February 2014, the Hamilton City Council gifted The Meteor Theatre to the Trust. Part of the deed of gift for this venue to the One Victoria Trust was the need for earthquake strengthening. With the help of the community of users and local philanthropists and grants (as well as the support of the Council) The Meteor was able to raise the $1.1million needed to ensure that this space remains a functional and robust venue for our community.
In 2016, The Meteor Theatre closed its doors for six months as it underwent renovations and earthquake strengthening and, in May 2017, reopened as a fully accessible space.
Today, The Meteor Theatre remains Hamilton’s home of New Zealand theatre. From emerging local creators to national and international acts, The Meteor remains a place for the community to share creative experiences.