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Sydney Theatre Company records biggest ever deficit

Sydney Theatre Company records biggest ever deficit
June 1, 2018

The Sydney Theatre Company (STC), Australia’s busiest not-for-profit theatre group, has recorded the biggest deficit in its 39-year history, with its annual report showing a $4.2 million budget reverse.

The deficit has been driven by a $9 million rise in production costs, to $32 million for the 2017 season, marked by its production of The Present on Broadway and the long-awaited premiere of Muriel's Wedding the Musical.

The deficit follows two successive modest surpluses and was recorded despite only a small decline in subscriber numbers.

STC Chairman Ian Narev, the outgoing Chief Eexecutive of the Commonwealth Bank, declined to discuss the result, reportedly described by one company insider as "a howler".

In STC's annual report, Narev partly attributed the deficit to income from Muriel's Wedding not being accounted for until 2018.

His introduction to the report states “we lost corporate sponsorships worth approximately $250,000 due to non-renewals, which is symptomatic of an environment in which corporate community spending is coming down.”

Scrutiny of the report by the ABC revealed all major partnerships and presenting partnerships remained intact from 2016 to 2017.

British Airways became an associate partner replacing Fuji Xerox and STC's annual report boasted 12 season partners, unchanged from the previous year.

For the first time since Chief Executive Patrick McIntyre joined STC in 2010 he was unavailable to discuss the results, but via email he confirmed the increase in production costs as "very significant".

McIntyre told the ABC "The Present on Broadway and Muriel's Wedding are two of the largest productions the company has ever undertaken.”

STC, which received $6 million from the Federal and NSW Governments, will cover the shortfall with its reserves.

The annual report, published on 30th May, made no mention of the campaign to end sexual harassment in live performance, despite STC being a signatory to a statement in which Australian theatre companies committed to ending abuse in the industry.

STC is also currently involved in litigation with Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph and Geoffrey Rush after the actor accused the newspaper of defamation when in November it claimed he'd harassed a young actor in STC's production of King Lear.

Image: Cate Blanchett and Toby Schmitz in Andrew Upton's adaptation of The Present, which played on Broadway in 2017. Courtesy of the Sydney Theatre Company. 

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2nd November 2016 - SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY CONFIRMS KIP WILLIAMS AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

24th March 2016 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BACKS HOME FOR BELL SHAKESPEARE

22nd March 2016 - NSW GOVERNMENT APPOINTS ARCHITECT FOR WALSH BAY ARTS PRECINCT 

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The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

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