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An Invitiation

By Nickamc - 27 June 2005 37


This is an invitation to attend the inaugural meeting for the

Canberra Awards for Performing Arts [working title]

These awards will be targeted at small budget theatre productions and emerging artists and youth. It is proposed that the awards will include not only traditional theatre, but also dance, circus, physical theatre and music.

On Tuesday 28th June at 7pm we would like you to join us at the Belconnen Community Centre in Meeting Room One to discuss the development of these awards, and get some input about what YOU believe the awards can do to fill current gaps in providing encouragement to participants in amateur theatre.


Elena Kirschbaum & Nick McCorriston

0407 267 239

What’s Your opinion?

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37 Responses to
An Invitiation
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simto 8:19 am 04 Jul 05

I’m going to try again, simpler this time…

Let us assume that production costs are pretty much locked in (which I’m guessing they are). So, to break even, you still need to bring in about the same amount through the box office. Right?

So, if we take your suggestion and remove the concession prices, and charge a single flat fee, that single flat fee is going to fall somewhere between the full price and what the concession price would be, isn’t it?

Which would mean that pensioners would be paying more than they would with a concession.

Admittedly, I still don’t get what’s so massively unreasonable about a $15 ticket.

johnboy 11:48 am 02 Jul 05

Pensioners demand a special price for themselves rather than just a low one?

simto 11:31 am 02 Jul 05

That’s an option that is adopted by a lot of companies (two of the shows I mentioned had no concession prices).

However, this does mean that two parts of the audience are lost:
1) Pensioners – who tend to be as reliable an audience as you’re likely to find – once they like a company, they’ll come back time and again.
2) Students and young people – who are pretty much your future audience.

So, having dumped your most stable audience and your future audience, what are you left with?

johnboy 10:58 am 02 Jul 05

Wonsworld, I’d suggest doing away with concession prices and going for a lower flat fee.

but that’s just my 2c

ellsbells 9:58 am 02 Jul 05

Wow, I didn’t even know this site existed until just now! Hi, I am Elena Kirschbaum, organiser of this little stirrer!

I would love to set a few things straight!

What we are trying to establish here is not at all competition for the CAT Awards. The market that we are looking at is completely different. We are looking at targeting the ‘fringe’ acts, basically, quite exactly, the kinds of arts practises that are not already covered by an existing awards program. In fact, we are so far away from competition with the CATs that I have been attempting to negotiate a partnership with the CAT Awards. I think it’d be great if we could be the CAT Fringe awards. Actually, at the meeting someone suggested that we call ourselves the kittens.

We are hoping that these awards will mean something more than the paper they’re written on. By making these awards completely accessible and the awards night a free event, we are hoping that they really will raise the profile of theatre in canberra and be making a little off centre and ‘fringey’ it will attract a different crowd than the regular theatre-scene crew. We also aim to have some awards with real prizes to assist and develop new and emerging work, such as free theatre space and other things to really help these people out.

And to clear up a few rumours, I think the CAT Awards are great. I have never been eligible for an award, so I’m not doing this out of spite. I actually attended the award ceremony last year with two friends who were both nominated for awards. I got to go to the cocktail party, and drank a few too many mimosa’s and had a great night (and almost tripped up the stairs)!

We are planning to hold another meeting in around three weeks time because so many people who wanted to come along couldn’t make it. I will make sure I put the details up here when we have a date. If any of you would like to send me your email addresses then I can send you the notes from the last meeting and an invitation to the next. Whether you are for or against the idea it’d be great for you to come along and share your opinion.

Thanks for all the great feedback! Keep it coming and bring it along to the meeting!

– Elena Kirschbaum.
0407 267 239.

(Goodness, was that long enough?!?)

wonsworld 10:57 am 30 Jun 05

“as for theatre prices, if it costs more than a movie ticket then the cost base needs re-evaluating”

John, if you could suggest ways of doing this cheaper (which is the only way I can see of ticket prices being lowered) then I am all ears.

The company I am usually associated with (Supa) does offer concession rates for pensioners, students, groups as best we can (as I am sure do the other amatuer companies).

We generally budget for productions to cover costs NOT for profit and without various forms of sponsorship/reduced rates/discounts the various companies get, it would be very hard for any of us to survive.

johnboy 10:28 pm 29 Jun 05

Well there’s a lively debate going on here without me and I hope you can all get closer to seeing eye to eye at the end of it.

for my 2c competition is good, bring on more local news and events websites.

as for theatre prices, if it costs more than a movie ticket then the cost base needs re-evaluating. if you can work a niche at higher prices then well done but, as with awards ceremonies, it’s a competitive entertainment environment out there.

RandomGit 8:41 pm 29 Jun 05

Good to see there’s more frustrated actors out there other than me ie. all of them.

azzamckazza 11:59 am 29 Jun 05

LG – it was the inaccuracies in her view of the CATs that gave that impression. Nothing to do with you.

These awards are being presented as an alternative to the CATS. The information given regarding the CATS was false. Maybe spite wasn’t the best word, but there seems to be an agenda behind these new awards.

My full rant and problem with the whole thing (for what it’s worth)…

The Canberra Theatre community is not big enough for one awards contest-let alone two.
On a long enough timeline everyone can win a CAT award if they try (despite them stretching the boundaries to rural australia)-it will be the same with any other awards contest presented. Because everyone CAN win an award, everyone probably will- or the opposite, the same people will win the awards every year. Canberra Theatre is just not big enough and the talent is not varied enough for it to be any different. Everyone will have an award and the awards will then become meaningless. The theatre community is so small and interconnected that all it amaounts to is a giant theatrical circle jerk that means absolutely nothing outside of canberra. That is what the CATs represent at the moment – how is this new awards scheme going to be any different?

What people should be doing, rather than patting theatre on the back (it gets enough of that already) is working on getting ticket prices down, more non-theatre people onto the stage (Canberra theatre is cliquey- everyone in it knows that) and more non theatre going people into the theatres to watch. This will not be acheived by giving out pieces of paper that you have assigned a meaning to.

gaaah….end rant. For the record, My name is Arran McKenna and I’m a frustrated actor. hahaha. I’m also miffed I missed the meeting last night.

wonsworld 11:58 am 29 Jun 05

Only one of the amateur theatre companies in Canberra pays musicians, and way below Musicians’ Union award rates. The others all have volunteer musicians.

With lighting, the major lighting contracting company to local amateur companies supplies goods and services at a significantly reduced rate. There is no union involved.

The “A” in “CATS” is for “Area” – not “Amateur”, otherwise there would be doubt cast on paid directors who have won the best director award.

Set Construction, Rights (royaties), Costumes and Properties are all paid for at the same rates regardless if you are a Amateur or Professional group.

Theatre Hire may be given at a slighlty reduced rate (depending on where you perform) BUT it is still staggering amount for an Amatuer company trying to make ends meet.

These shows may be amatuer in that the actors, msucians and backstage crews do not get paid BUT everything else is the same as if you are a school show playing in the Street Theatre or Sydney Theatre Company.

Ticket prices are a reflection on what it COSTS to put these shows on NOT on expected profit (which is usually ONLY enough to keep you going for one more show). But still we survive.

Sousaphone-Guy 11:50 am 29 Jun 05

In the interests of facts, the majority of amateur musical theatre companies in town (SUPA, Phoenix, Queanbeyan Players, G-String) have never paid their musicians. Their prices vary, but reflect other costs, like theatre hire, rights etc etc. And lo and behold, market forces appear to work – and so they survive.

LurkerGal 11:47 am 29 Jun 05

Can I point out that I bagged out the CAT awards, not Esquire? I don’t have any thing to do with the new awards, I just happen to know and support the people who are organising them.

Esquire have not said anything awful about the CAT awards, and have not in anyway been spiteful.

Please don’t let MY bagging of the CATs influence your impression of Esquire.

azzamckazza 11:44 am 29 Jun 05

The more I read the comments the more it seems these awards are being made out of spite.

kimba 11:37 am 29 Jun 05

I don’t care much about any of the awards nights but I like local Theatre and do not think it is overly expensive. Last week I watched Vin and When in Rome – and both were excellent. I just visited CAT webpage and it is very impressive. But what I hate is when people (Esquire) bullshit and mislead people. Perhaps you should ring the CAT people and check your facts.

RandomGit 11:19 am 29 Jun 05

Chris Di Donna, pleased to make your one sided aquaintence busybee.

The rule of the marketplace states that the crappier, uncompetitive and more unneccessary awards show will wither and die, given there is an actual demand. Say ‘bring it on’ and have impetus to make your show bigger and better than the other.

Condemning it as unnessary while it is unborn is monopolising for your own glory. Fucking prima donnas!!

As for lighting and musos getting paid, WTF happened to ‘amateur’? I’d do that shit for free if the show was good. Unfortunately, I have a young family that needs my time first. Sorry.

I’ll also back the comment about high ticket prices while I’m at it, they put me right off. And now I know who to blame for that too so thanks.

LurkerGal 11:16 am 29 Jun 05

And also someone involved in the CATS, obviously.

busybee 10:44 am 29 Jun 05

Let’s get it straight Esquire. All I want you to do is get your facts right

The actual joining fee for the COMPANIES are:
If you have one show it is $55.00..if you are putting on more than one show and want them all entered (whether it be 2 or 22) the total cost is $77

The end of the year gala evening is not always $45.00. This ticket is not expected to be paid by the company but is usually paid by each individual. Last year all nominated people got a free ticket plus a cocktail party pre show.
And as for your comment about nominated people not attending the awards where on earth did you get that idea? All of this scuttlebut going around is quite incredible. Nominations come out long before tickets are on sale, consequently the box office has no idea who has been nominated and noone has ever had their nomination cancelled because they are not at the
awards evening. This doesn’t happen at the Oscars or the Tonys and the CAT Awards are modelled on these Award nights.

As to who I am..I don’t know anyone else who has come forth and given their real name..I just happen to be someone who is interested in theatre, and get my facts correct

I know the meeting went well and I look forward
to the results

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