What show would you program if you were a Theatre Manager for a day? This was one of the questions posed in our annual patron survey. We had a great response but maybe we should have been more specific and state which show would you program at Dubbo Regional Theatre.
There's a difference. Whilst we have an exquisitely designed performing arts centre and can accommodate The Australian Ballet, Opera Australia and a cast of 300 children on stage for the Moorambilla Gala Concert - there are other productions only suitable for major metro institutions.
Whilst Disney on Ice, Billy Elliot the Musical, Muriel's Wedding and Cirque due Soleil would be absolute drawcards there's no regional theatre that would be able to accommodate the grand scale of these Capital City shows.
These are multi-million dollar creations, with colossal sets requiring versatile mechanical stages and designed to have seasons of three months plus two performances a day. The sets alone would fill the DRTCC stage four times over.
Having said that, due to the modern and well thought out design of Dubbo Regional Council's Theatre, we are one of the few regional Theatres that can accommodate Bangarra Dance Theatre and The Australian Ballet due to the ample sized stage and 44 line fly tower.
For those that aren't aware, the large boxy construction rising six stories above the Theatre is the fly tower, which enables numerous production elements to be flown in and out during a performance.
As I overheard at a conference last week, one delegate asking a venue manager for tips when they build their new Theatre in Goulburn. The venue manager replied 'Contact Dubbo Regional Council - they got it right!
When we asked patrons what their favourite performance was over the past nine years one patron couldn't choose just one and listed Beatlemania, Driving Miss Daisy, Petula Clark, Bakersfield Mist, The Underarm, The Wine Bluffs, Swan Lake and Julius Caesar.
This highlighted how the audience member has embraced the diversity of the artistic program and broadened their palate enjoying everything from tribute shows, to drama, comedy, classical ballet and Shakespeare.
Now that's a Theatre's dream patron - one who immerses themselves in the variety on offer and has the courage to try something different.
Thank you to everyone who completed the survey - we have listened and we will be introducing some new initiatives. Sorry no, not Elton John or Barbara Streisand. We are good, but costs and logistics prevail.