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Strong year for SA performing arts

Arts & Culture

A busy performance program and strong audience numbers resulted in a “healthy surplus” for the State Theatre Company of South Australia in 2014-15.

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In its annual report released yesterday, the company said it produced, presented or co-presented 13 productions and played 305 performances to audiences of 92,489 in South Australia, interstate and overseas.

Highlights included the box-office record-breaking The Importance of Being Earnest, the sold-out Adelaide Festival season of The Beckett Triptych, and the company’s first tour to New York with Pinocchio, a co-production with Windmill Theatre.

“All of the company’s vital signs continued to be healthy – with an excellent level of output, strong attendances and very positive critical and audience responses,” State Theatre Company chair John Irvine said in the annual report.

He said the overall operating result was “a healthy surplus of $158,991, as a result of which the company’s reserves had been increased by 22 per cent to $877,845.

The surplus was significantly down on the previous financial year’s result of just under $280,000, but 2013-14 was a record year in which box office takings more than doubled and sponsorship and donations rose by almost 40 per cent.

Total box office takings in 2014-15 were $2,063,000, compared with $2,263,000 the previous year.

Irvine said a key strategic goal for the company in 2016 was to move from its current structure as a statutory authority to that of a private not-for-profit company, which is expected to take place on June 30 next year.

It is also making progress towards establishing a “second home” and arts hub at the Fowlers Building in the Lion Arts Centre after a change in the lease agreement for its office premises at Adelaide Railway Station.

“This is a major strategic issue for the company, which we hope to see resolved in the coming year without detriment to the company’s output, financial position or operations,” Irvine said.

The Adelaide Festival Centre also tabled its 2014-15 annual report in Parliament yesterday, with an operating surplus of $390,000. Key income drivers included staged musicals such as Grease and Thriller, set-building work, carparking and catering services.

It reported a 5 per cent increase in visitor numbers, to 828,475.

“Looking back at 2014-15, it’s pleasing to see that we’ve been able to attract strong visitor numbers in what was a tough economic year,” said centre CEO and artistic director Douglas Gautier.

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