It seems there are some myths out there regarding the costs and viability for Mudgee to maintain The Regent Theatre. We believe this is due to the fact that Mid-Western Regional Council's report on The Regent in 2012 including a poor analysis of the potential for use. The report, created by then General Manager (Warrick Bennett) did not explore live performance revenue potentials, solely concentrating on a cinema industry analysis.
After obtaining a GIPA request, and reviewing all the files (including a discussion paper, budgets and emails) it was clear that no professional quotes were obtained, aside from a property evaluation. The people of Mudgee have been misguided by poor research, which compared the Town Hall with the Regent Theatre and did not investigate operating models by other Councils.
With a seating capacity of around 900 (Town Hall Theatre 200), The Regent provides an economically viable option for entertainers and mid-sized professional ensembles with broad-based appeal that need a higher box office return afforded by larger venues.
Revive The Regent Theatre Inc. (RTRTM) would like to collaborate with Council to develop a working business model for the Regent Theatre to outline how it can be retained for its original purpose, as an entertainment venue. A feasibility study is required which outlines more revenue streams than simply operating as a cinema (which has been the previous predominant use) to include live performance, venue hire, larger meetings and conferences and other programming suitable to venue. The Regent Theatre must become a destination hub for educational and entertainment in the Central West.
In terms of its economic importance, the Live Performance Industry generated revenues of $2.55 billion during 2012. Based on research by Ernst & Young, the average turnover for a theatre with 261-550 seats is $1,100,129.
The Regent Theatre will require proactive theatre management that is well-connected with the entertainment sector and with a sound understanding of what will have broad appeal. Any management contract must ensure the community has priority access to the venue and allocate a proportion of time dedicated to this.
It is vital that the public understand that previous analysis was not conducted in consultation with any other industry professionals. Therefore, cannot be relied on as evidence that purchasing the theatre is not a good economic choice.
We urge for further investigation by Mid-Western Regional Council into a feasibility study that includes analysis of the the live performance industry. The economic flow-on effects, combined with the community requests for an 'entertainment venue', provide sound support for further investigation.
To show Mid-Western Regional Council that you want to see this building be safeguarded by Council, sign our petition here, which calls for Council to purchase the theatre.