Quiet success a problem

IF YOU have been to a function or launch recently, chances are the person standing out of sight and out of mind yet ensuring all runs smoothly is Corporate Theatre managing director Vaughan Emery or one of his fourteen staff.

Those who attended the United Way annual cheque presentation evening late last year, put on by Corporate Theatre Productions, would find it hard to forget the good food, wine and entertainment on offer.

Mr Emery said creating such memories was the essence of what his company was capable of doing.

However, the difficulty for Corporate Theatre is in achieving recognition for its work, because it is very much the behind the scenes operators.

Mr Emery said its job was to make the client look like a hero. The company does not seek publicity at the events.

He said when events were held at Perth’s hotels people often got the wrong impression that it was the hotel that was providing the service.

Mr Emery said the meetings, incentives, convention and events industry had many backward and forward linkages that offered enormous benefits for the wider business community.

He said the four and five-star hotels were very dependent on the MICE industry.

What sets Corporate Theatre apart from its competitors and eastern states counterparts it is possibly the only company that is fully self-contained.

The company’s headquarters in Belmont incorporate audio visual, props and production departments.

At the back of the building is an array of props and other objects in storage for future events.

As a backdrop can cost about $10,000 and sometimes take weeks to complete, it is important it can be used for more than one performance or event.

It can take several events before a prop is paid for. Often they are used for eastern states or overseas events.

About 10 per cent of the company’s $2.5 million turnover comes from overseas events.

Clients such as the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australian Gas Association and other organisations doing a circuit of annual conferences around Australia and South East Asia provide much of the work undertaken by the company.

However, Mr Emery is reluctant to open offices in the eastern states or overseas because of concerns that this could cloud the company vision.

“What people really like about us is that we are boutique,” he said.

Even the Olympics failed to excite him although it will be a boon for the industry.

Sydney MICEs are in the position to either buy more stock to cater for the sharp increase in demand or charge considerably more money for events.

The burst of activity around the Olympics offers the possibility of a lucrative windfall for Corporate Theatre but Mr Emery has no plans to hop on for the ride.

“We have very loyal clients and we don’t think we will compromise our position with the Olympics,” Mr Emery said.

Another potentially lucrative market will be in Canberra as Australia celebrates the centenary of federation.

Orders are already coming in for events to be held in Canberra.

A growth rate of 10 per cent to 15 per cent per year has meant Mr Emery has had to let go of some of the daily running of the business but he is avoiding letting it grow beyond his grasp.

The secret to his success, he believes, is maintaining control of the two most important aspects – communication with clients and keeping a lid on costs.


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