While normally Her Majesty's Theatre's program would be decided up to 18 months in advance, cancellations and rescheduling due to stop-start lockdowns have meant plans are being made on the fly as the City of Ballarat hopes to retain events.
About 15,000 tickets have been rescheduled so far this year for events at Her Maj such as Ballarat Lyric Theatre's We Will Rock You, Bluey and Constantino.
While shows have been tentatively pushed out to later this year or early 2022, future renovation works to Her Majesty's Theatre have added pressure to the situation.
Typically, there would only be a few days between shows at Her Maj, but after lockdowns created a domino effect of rescheduling, City of Ballarat Mayor Daniel Moloney said that approach needed to change and include better utilisation of Civic Hall.
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"Typically, we would heavily book Her Majesty's Theatre so there would only be a few days gap between various shows. We won't be doing that for the new year because we want to make sure that there's room for those shows that have fallen from 2021 into 2022 and to also then start to free up some space for construction activity," he said.
"We haven't locked in those dates yet but it's likely to be in mid-2022.So at the moment, we're working through the final specifications, then into a tender phase and working through that with the state government to confirm the timing."
With works nearing completion on a stage lift and commercial kitchen at Civic Hall, Cr Moloney, who is also on the Her Majesty's Theatre board, said the venue would become a key feature of the city's entertainment offering.
"Civic Hall has been underutilised for many years and one of the first things we wanted to do as a new council last council term was to get Civic Hall fixed up after being closed for a generation," he said.
"I think a lot of people experienced Civic Hall for the first time over the last couple years when we've been allowed out of lockdowns, but it hasn't really had a chance to shine yet because just as we were opening it, we were pretty much heading into a pandemic.
"I think when people start to see shows at Civic Hall in 2022, they'll see the importance of that investment and it will be a great asset for future generations."
Cr Moloney said the arts was among the sectors that needed a range of targeted programs to assist in their recovery.
"The arts community really does need that strong support and we've heard from live music promoters and the performing arts sector that something that does set Ballarat apart from a lot of other regional cities is we do have a strong arts community here and we can't lose that due to the pandemic," he said.
"We'll be also looking to boost outdoor performances where we possibly can as well throughout the summer period. We're hopeful the summer not only brings warm weather but also brings reduced restrictions and the ability to have gatherings outside and performance opportunities."
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