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A Commercial venture and the public purse. #3

Downstage Theatre in Wellington – this is like déjà vu all over again!

Cash-strapped Downstage Theatre wants Wellington ratepayers to provide a $90,000
bailout so it can continue to operate

Downstage’s chief executive and director, Hilary Beaton, said it was “disrespectful” to term the funding request a bailout.

The theatre had trained generations of actors and had “greatly contributed to the cultural fabric of the city” which added weight to calls for extra council funding, she said.

“I don’t see it as a bailout. I see it as an investment in the future and a recognition of the past.”….  But chasing audiences with tacky populist shows was not on the agenda. “We are not suddenly going to do topless lap dancing or commercial British comedy. We are committed to our programme of presenting local crafted work.”

Riiiiight, as is the obstinate refusal to put on any commercially viable event preferring locally crafted works of dubious merit and popularity. And a call to titillation, aren’t you glad we already have suffrage because this frump would like to have performance as art, which appeals to about 4 people, if you count Gordon the dog as a person.

Mrs Beaton says ” Trouble started this year when theatre attendance took a triple hammering
because of the Christchurch earthquake, the global financial crisis, and the  Rugby World Cup”

How’s that again? talk about clutching at straws, everything except nothing you did or didn’t do then. People would go to the theatre regardless, if the pricing was right and the event was worthy. What a nonsense.

Having such a vexatious chief executive and director in Hilary Beaton you have to wonder (a) what it is she does for real work (b) what she considers worthy (refer to Gordon the dog) and (c) just how much money is enough.

Having lofty ideals and ideas is fantastic, but if you find that what you’re doing is giving you the same result over and over then perhaps what you’re doing is what the problem is, not the other way around –  what’s happening isn’t the problem you have – the problem is what’s happening is you’ve managed to art yourself into a corner.

If you can’t run a commercial venture at a profit then you shouldn’t be running it. If you’re lucky to have a benefactor or a patron then by all means go ahead, it isn’t fair to expect joe public to stump up the cash for something they have little or no interest in when they have greater interest in something else.

I refer you to this blog piece and info graphic where is shows that 57% of Wellingtonians consider it a “special interest” option rather than an “amenity”

Oh and I took my quotes from here via Downstage Theatre Seeking Bailout Of $90,000 | Stuff.co.nz.


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