Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Behind the Empirea[euro][TM]s Scenes

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Behind the Empirea[euro][TM]s Scenes

Article excerpt

IaM often asked about the Empire Theatre when Iam out shopping.

Lots of people seem to know Iave got a connection with the place. aHowas the theatre going?a is a very common question. Itas often followed by some encouraging comments about the theatreas importance to the region.

I can usually tell them, aItas going very well, thank youa. We have a little chat about whatas coming up and why we canat get X, Y or Z to come to the theatre.

The usual reason why X, Y and Z are not coming is because they are too expensive, too busy or not available on dates when we have vacant program slots.

Sometimes we have, after much thought, decided not enough people would pay to come and see them. Over the years our team has built up a very good feel for what might sell. It also has a strong commitment, through our Youth Theatre especially, to staging shows and events that add diversity to our programs even if we have to amake an investmenta.

Thatas the polite way of saying alose moneya. One of the great challenges is to make sure that, when push comes to shove, we can balance the books as well as providing an exciting range of shows. The theatre has managed to do that, with the ongoing help of the owners, Toowoomba Regional Council, and the people of our region.

We would all like to think we can provide top-class entertainment with lowest possible prices and no subsidies. Our seat prices are largely dictated by what we have to pay to get the shows on stage and what it costs to operate the theatre on behalf of the owners.

We do our best to make the prices manageable for individuals and families who want to have a good night out. The Empire Theatreas operating costs are now about $3.5 million per year, just to keep it functional and fulfilling its purpose.

Last financial year our owners provided us with operational financial support, called the Community Service Obligation (CSO), totalling about $1. …

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