Built in 1929, The Civic is a much-loved Auckland landmark and entertainment venue in the heart of the Aotea Arts Quarter. Designed as the first purpose-built cinema for 'talkies' in the country, it is an ‘atmospheric cinema’ with a unique soft-top ceiling design that floats above the auditorium, allowing the famed stars and clouds effect that is a recreation of the Southern sky-scape. It is unique in the southern hemisphere, with a Category I New Zealand Heritage listing.

With its incredible history and a triumphant refurbishment in 1999, The Civic has dominated the New Zealand theatrical scene. It has hosted star-studded musical and dramatic performances over the years, with 2017 being a record year for attendance. The breath-taking theatre has hosted some dazzling events recently: the acclaimed Matilda the Musical, Mary Poppins, and in 2019, Disney’s Aladdin; shows like Le Grand Cirque and Nederlands Dans Theater, and the iconic New Zealand International Film Festival, to name a few.

The Civic is a must-see experience in its own right, and part of every guided walking tour through our city. Download a PDF here to see the fascinating history of Auckland’s most sumptuous and beautiful theatre, or book a place on The Civic Tours.

Above: Matilda the Musical. Photo: James D. Morgan

Key statistics  

  • One of only 7 atmospheric theatres in the world
  • Awe-inspiring auditorium ceiling with spectacular starscape
  • 90% visitor satisfaction rating
  • Seats 2,379 people, 4 versatile function spaces

This is the most spectacular theatre I've ever had the pleasure to visit, filled with amazing architecture, character and charm. The ceiling appearance is a view of the stars and looks like no ceiling at all. "Matilda" was the best stage show I've seen... Totally blown away!

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