Detour Theatre

Boutique theatre and drama academy

Our History...

Detour Theatre began as a touring company in 1996 and has evolved since then to become a registered charitable trust operating as a community theatre and drama academy at its very own theatre in the Historic Village, Tauranga. 

Significant milestones include...

  • 1996 Detour Theatre Company estalished
  • 2000 Detour Theatre produces it's first fullscale production "Shadowlands" by William Nicholson
  • 2007 Detour Theatre Trust is established
  • 2007 Detour takes over the long term lease of the 1911 Baptist Church at Tauranga's Historic Village.
  • 2008 major building renovation undertaken to convert the derilict church into a boutique theatre
  • 2009 Our first play produced in the renovated theatre "Menopause Made Me Do It!"
  • 2009 We begin our annual season of Shakespeare with a production of "Twelfth Night".
  • 2013 New seats are installed in the theatre. 


Building Project...

Our Building Project Summary...

In November 2007 the Detour Theatre Trust began a long term lease of the 1911 Baptist Hall located at the Historic Village on 17th Avenue. Immediately the Trust began planning for the renovation of the hall into an intimate 72 seat theatre, with office space and storage. A team of volunteer trades people have undertaken the work ensuring a quality completion. The project was funded by donations from Charitable groups and individuals who are enthusiastic about the work of the Detour Theatre Trust in the community. All construction work met industry standards and was signed off by certified Building Inspectors.

Key work in the project... Inside


  • New fire alarm and emergency lighting system installed
  • Significant repairs to the stage
  • Raised seating
  • Office space built
  • Storage for set
  • Small waiting lounge
  • Mezzanine floor with storage for props and costumes and operation of lighting / sound
  • Additional dressing room
  • Signage for building
  • Lighting for signage
  • Lighting for entranceway and towards carpark


Key work in the project... Outside

  • New paving in front of the theatre 
  • Disabled parking 

Additional work now completed... 

  • Heat Pumps installed in auditorium and key work area 
  • Dishwasher installed in kitchen 
  • New lighting system (desk and dimmers) 
  • New "black-out" auditorium curtains (fire retardant) 
  • New stage curtain 
  • New front door to provide better access for clients with disabilities 
  • New window in Greenroom 
  • New seats in auditorium 

Thanks to our sponsors and helpers... 

  • Cheshire Trust Legacy Trust - donation to the upgrade of the building 
  • Lion Foundation 
  • Pub Charity 
  • Sargood Bequest 
  • TECT. 
  • Southern Trust
  • All of the private donors who have contributed to this project... there were many. Stu Pegg who got the project rolling. Without Stu we would never have got started! Ian Lloyd Structural Engineers. The Detour Theatre Trust gratefully acknowledges the assistance beyound the call of duty provided by Ian. Brian Davies Architect. Brians advice and expertise were crucial to the success of our project. Todd, Brian D, Brian T, Murray T, Bruce, Murray E, Ian, Mike, Dave... and all the other guys who measured, cut, hammered, dug, painted and bolted. Janie, Becks, Scotty and Barry at the Village. It all began with Janie's phone call... "We have a building you might be interested in". :)


The Building's History...

The Detour Theatre is a boutique 70 seat theatre. It started it's life in 1911 as the original Tauranga Baptist Church. 

Rev William Barnett purchased land for the Baptist Church during October 1908, at a time when there was no other Baptist Church in Tauranga.

Early in 1911, Rev Barnett approached the Auckland Baptists for help in the construction of a church in Tauranga, which the Auckland Auxiliary Committee of the Baptist Union endorsed and established a committee to collect funds for the new building. From the proceeds, timber from the demolished Ponsonby Town Hall was consigned to tauranga by scow, and other timber arrived by cart from the Paengaroa saw mill on 1 June, 1911. The four large timber pillars on the front porch were given by the Rev Barnett from trees milled on his Kaimai farm.

On 22 June – Coronation Day – four foundation stones were laid. The end of August brought the finishing touches to the building, with the front door and stained glass windows for the wast end and 100 chairs from Auckland. A total cost, including the site, was said to be 600 pounds, although Rev Barnett gifted the site to the church.

In the 1950's, despite having acquired the adjacent properties, the old church proved inadequate, so additional land was purchased on the corner of 13th Avenue and Cameron Road to erect a new building. The old church was sold and in turn became a theatre for The Gateway Players and secondhand business The Web. 

After some years, this was again sold to developers who did not require the old building, which was resold- this time to the Tauranga Country Music Club.

Re-sited at the Historic Village on 9 October, 1985, from Cameron Road, it is now home to the Detour Theatre Trust who have redeveloped the building from a derelict state into a delightful theatre.


Venue Hire...

Please note that the theatre is not for hire.