Support Act: Theatre Company given loan extension after appeal for help

SHOW TIME: Graham Sattler, Hannah Wisse and Alan Moxey will star in Legally Blonde The Musical at the Civic Theatre from Friday night. Photo: DAVID FITZSIMONS 0415dfblonde15
SHOW TIME: Graham Sattler, Hannah Wisse and Alan Moxey will star in Legally Blonde The Musical at the Civic Theatre from Friday night. Photo: DAVID FITZSIMONS 0415dfblonde15

The Orange Theatre Company (OTC) has been given a two-year extension to repay $30,000 to Orange City Council after losing money on shows.

It looks like the production will be lucky to break even.

Tim May, Orange Theatre Company

OTC treasurer Tim May told council it lost money on shows in 2016 and was struggling to break even on its current production Legally Blonde The Musical which opens on Friday.

“In 2016 the three productions [Hairspray, Mary Poppins and Lend Me a Tenor] combined made a loss of $22,000,” he said.

“It was only just regained in 2017 with our combined productions [led by its award-winning production of Wicked] making $23,000.

“Essentially this has seen the financial reserves of the company, which are used for start-up productions, whittled away.”

Mr May said the OTC had outlaid $65,000 on Legally Blonde The Musical but ticket sales last week were at $30,000.

“Based on past productions it looks like the production will be lucky to break even,” he said.

Council agreed to give the OTC the extra time to re-pay the money, which was part of a $60,000, four-year loan in 2015 to help construct a shed for storage of costumes and props and make scenery and props.

The OTC met its first two annual payments of $15,000 but approached council this month asking for help.

OTC president Sam Fuda said it needed funds for other revenue-raising initiatives to improve its finances.

Mr Fuda said the projects included re-opening its costume hire business to the community for balls and parties, starting school holiday theatre and arts programs for primary school students, developing its costumes storage facilities and producing two to three musicals and plays a year.

He said hire of the Civic Theatre was the biggest cost facing the OTC.

“It can be $15,000 and above for one week,” he said.

The OTC application did not ask for the outstanding $30,000 to be waived however Mr May asked council to consider it.

Mr Fuda said the OTC was “thoroughly thrilled” with the decision.

“It is not our end goal to get something for nothing,” he said.

However, he said the OTC could consider making a further request later.

Mr Fuda said ticket prices had to cover costs.

“We would love to have them cheaper to get more people in the theatre,” he said.

“In an ideal world they give us the theatre for free and we wouldn’t charge for people to come and see the show.”

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