Phantom composer and theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber appeared to foreshadow news of the Australian cancellations earlier this week.
Breaking the news that the first two nights of his production of Cinderella at London’s Gillian Lynne theatre would be cancelled after a cast member tested positive, Lloyd Webber said he knew of another “major, major show” that was also about to be scratched.
“Theatre is now on its knees,” he continued. “There is no way forward.”
Terracini issued a dramatic plea for help from state and federal governments to ensure the survival of Opera Australia.
“We need help,” he said. “Since I’ve been at Opera Australia I have never gone to the government and said we need your help. We have always taken on the responsibility to get ourselves out of trouble. But now we have no control over it. Seventy-five per cent of our income has gone and we can’t do anything about it.
“I don’t think there is a clear understanding of the devastation that has taken place. It’s desperate.”
One glimmer of hope is that plans for a production of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle at Brisbane’s Queensland Performing Arts Centre are still in place.
It is due to open at the end of October and Terracini said plans were being developed to set up two NRL-style “bubbles” in Sydney and Brisbane so preparations could continue.
The cancellation comes as the NSW government’s $75 million emergency lifeline for shuttered theatres and music venues will start to be rolled out from Friday.
Create NSW financial modelling nominated August 7 or August 14 as the dates at which theatres might begin to reopen at reduced capacity, triggering different levels of compensation. However, a spokesperson denied it had presumed or predicted the closure of theatres or venues beyond July 30, the current date covered by public health orders.
Funding will be calculated on average ticket price multiplied by the number of tickets for sale and a percentage figure tied to public health orders limiting audience capacity.
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