Home Australia Sydney nightlife suffers fresh blow as theater goes bust after vowing to be ‘culturally diverse’ to tackle ‘systemic racism’

Sydney nightlife suffers fresh blow as theater goes bust after vowing to be ‘culturally diverse’ to tackle ‘systemic racism’

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Darlinghurst Theater Company has been placed into voluntary administration after recent drops in box office sales and donations. The company operates out of Sydney's Eternity Playhouse (pictured)

A much-loved theater company has been placed into voluntary administration in the latest blow to the troubled entertainment industry.

Sydney’s Darlinghurst Theater Company immediately suspended all events and appointed BRI Ferrier’s Jonathon Keenan and Peter Krejci as administrators on Monday, days after it appealed for donations on social media.

An announcement of the theater’s collapse urged ticket holders to “charge back” the cost of the ticket through their credit card provider.

The company had been a major employer and cornerstone of Sydney’s arts and entertainment scene since its formation in 1993 by industry legend Glenn Terry.

Ticket sales have plummeted in recent years following Terry’s retirement in 2022, prompting the exodus of several other senior directors.

Darlinghurst Theater Company has been placed into voluntary administration after recent drops in box office sales and donations. The company operates out of Sydney’s Eternity Playhouse (pictured)

‘The administrators are exploring all options to save or restructure the business. “If any party is interested in assisting with that recapitalization and restructuring process, they should contact the administrator’s office urgently,” reads a statement on the theater’s Facebook page.

“The administrators will be sending further communications to all creditors and interested parties in the coming days.”

Bri Ferrier director Keenan said all shows would be suspended as he looks to restructure the company to avoid dissolution.

He added that cost-of-living pressures appeared to have squeezed the pockets of potential audience members and reduced ticket sales.

“The effect of this has been a reduction in income and donor support and has resulted in serious financial problems,” Mr Keenan told the Sydney Morning Herald.

The collapse comes after the theater company's artistic director, Amylia Harris, left in 2023.

The collapse comes after the theater company’s artistic director, Amylia Harris, left in 2023.

Ticket sales and donations at Darlinghurst Theater Company (pictured) have plummeted in recent years.

Ticket sales and donations at Darlinghurst Theater Company (pictured) have plummeted in recent years.

Box office sales fell to $2.4 million last year from $3.3 million in 2022, while bar sales and donations also declined.

Without disclosing how much the company owes, he said it would need “a few hundred thousand dollars” to continue operations.

The theater company was denied funding from the New South Wales government, which found problems with its unsustainable financial model amid rising costs.

He could get a reprieve from Sydney City Council, which will vote on a $200,000 rental subsidy for the Eternity Playhouse, where the company operates.

However, there are also concerns with the management of the company and the turnover of artistic and executive directors.

Co-artistic directors Glenn Terry and Amylia Harris (pictured) announced in 2020 that the company would update its cultural representation policy to address its

Co-artistic directors Glenn Terry and Amylia Harris (pictured) announced in 2020 that the company would update its cultural representation policy to address its “contribution to systemic racism.”

While sharing the role of artistic director in 2020, Terry and Amylia Harris announced that ‘Darlo’ would update its cultural representation policy.

A video from June of that year revealed that the company had been criticized for failing to address its “contribution to systemic racism.”

“(El Darlo) needs to do better and recognize the ways in which our narrative and our company processes have upheld systemic racism,” Ms. Harris said.

“We are committed to making a viable commitment to hold ourselves publicly accountable for taking the first step towards structural reform.”

Terry announced that the theater company would commit to having half of all employees and performers be from “Indigenous, Black, or culturally and linguistically diverse communities.”

The commitment to diversity would also be seen in all production seasons starting in 2022.

Harris took over as sole artistic director upon Terry’s retirement shortly after, but would leave the position a year later.

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