20/12/2018 - 08:16

Summer Nights heat up the Blue Room

20/12/2018 - 08:16

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As business winds down ahead of the Christmas break, The Blue Room Theatre is ramping up its offering with the release of its Summer Nights campaign for Fringe World Festival 2019.

Harriet Roberts and Julian Hobba say the Summer Nights program contributes substantially to the theatre company’s revenue. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

As business winds down ahead of the Christmas break, The Blue Room Theatre is ramping up its offering with the release of its Summer Nights campaign for Fringe World Festival 2019.

Producer Harriet Roberts told Business News the theatre season showcased a range of curated independent performances, allowing artists to take advantage of The Blue Room’s facilities.

“Summer Nights is one of the presentation programs that we have at the Blue Room Theatre, and it’s quite different from the other offers we have – it’s part of Fringe World,” Ms Roberts said.

“We are an independent venue, and we individually curate and handpick our own program as part of Fringe.

“There are 31 shows in 2019, and each of our venues has three shows a night, every night.”

Ms Roberts said artists were supported as they developed and presented shows.

“Financially we are not buying shows, or paying these artists to come into The Blue Room Theatre,” she said.

“What we do is we offer a raft of support for them, to make presenting in Fringe as viable as it can be, so they have in-kind rehearsal room hire, in-kind venue space.

“They don’t have to pay anything for lights and sound.”

Financially, the month-long program is hugely beneficial to The Blue Room.

“Summer Nights, because it’s only a month, is actually a tonne of money for quite a small amount of time,” Ms Roberts said.

“We see about the same amount of people coming through the doors for the ‘development seasons’ from April to December as we can in Summer Nights in four-and-a-half weeks.”

The Blue Room recorded about $1.3 million in revenue last year, according to its annual report, and executive director Julian Hobba said Summer Nights provided a significant financial boost.

“Summer Nights’ income and expenses now roughly match those of our April to December ‘development season’ program,” Mr Hobba said.

Ms Roberts noted that audiences had shown a willingness to continue their support for The Blue Room.

“The Blue Room has a reputation throughout the year, and it certainly has a reputation in Fringe with our Summer Nights program,” Ms Roberts said.

“We’ve won best independent program for seven years running as part of Fringe.”

Mr Hobba hopes to leverage this reputation and popularity to continue to draw audiences.

“One of the big opportunities for us is to continue to encourage more and more Fringe audiences to come back through the course of the rest of the year,” he said.

“That’s a big challenge for the arts sector overall, to capitalise on the broad popularity and profile of the festival season to the benefit of artists.”

 

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