GRAEME Russell bought his first record, Tiny Tina and Little John, in 1977 and this October he plans to get it signed.
Mr Russell is the manager of Ballarat’s Her Majesty’s Theatre, which has coaxed international artist Tina Arena into playing a one-off regional Victorian show as part of her Reset tour.
“It’s great for Ballarat and it’s great for the theatre,” said Mr Russell, who developed an affection for the ARIA award winner during her appearances on television show Young Talent Time.
“She’s got an extraordinary voice ... she’s one of those artists that can actually sing,” he said. “By the time Tina came along, all the good singers like Phil Gould and Debra Byrne had left (YTT).”
Arena’s age-transcending appeal will bring a variety of people into Ballarat in early October, coinciding with Ballarat’s Cabaret Festival.
“We’ll get people inbound from western Victoria and people who want a more intimate gig than at a Palais (Melbourne entertainment venue),” he said.
Mr Russell, who has all eight of Arena’s English studio albums, described the gig as the “biggest coup” for the theatre since the concert by opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in March 2013.
“We don’t normally get artists of this calibre doing solo gigs in the country. They’re usually interested in doing the bigger gigs,” he said.
“The fact that we could get an artist like this and have her excited about coming to Ballarat and doing a show is great.”
Patrons would get a “more intimate” experience at the 1000-capacity theatre in Ballarat than at a larger venue, Mr Russell said.
“A rock concert like this comes with certain expectations,” he said.
“We we’re just throwing names 12 months ago, working on a strategic plan for the theatre and we jumped at the chance to get involved three months ago.”
Two or three big shows like Arena’s each year, which would boost the appeal of the venue, were crucial for the development of the theatre, he said.
“We don’t want to fill the theatre every week. It’s not sustainable.”
Arena said: “I’m really excited that Australian audiences will be the first in the world to experience songs from Reset in a live environment.
“I’m so happy this album has connected with so many people and these songs are going to really come to life in this show.”