Oamaru needs to support the arts – Opera House director

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Oamaru residents need to support the diverse range of shows being performed in North Otago, otherwise the acts may not return, Opera House director Megan Peacock Coyle says.

Mrs Peacock Coyle said because of the Opera House’s refurbishment and Oamaru being located between Christchurch and Dunedin, many promoters took the opportunity to stop here.

This meant a diverse range of shows were being performed in Oamaru, but they needed to have a good enough audience for the promoters not to bypass the town and currently that is only happening with a few shows.

“If we can’t keep getting bums on seats, then the promoters will stop coming here,” Mrs Peacock Coyle said.

People had a number of different reasons for not attending shows, including the cost, not knowing the show was on or not knowing enough about the work, she said.

“Everyone has different reasons for not going and many are justified…tickets are too expensive or they didn’t know the show was on.”

Oamaru needed to understand there were substantial costs involved in bringing productions here and promoters needed to cover those costs, which was why the Opera House always tried to convince promoters to offer special prices, however sometimes their budgets would not allow it, she said.

Information about shows is available in many different places; street posters, online, on Facebook, in newspapers, through direct marketing and in the What’s On brochures delivered to11,000 letterboxes every season.

“It is out there, but sometimes you also need to be proactive and look.”

Mrs Peacock Coyle said she felt that many people were more likely to come to well-known international shows, which was sad, because many New Zealand performances were “exceptionally good”.

“Some of the [New Zealand] work we have had come through is of such a high quality. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing people as they leave a show full of absolute joy and wonder, especially when they didn’t expect it.”

Over the last few years, the Opera House had worked hard to bring a large range of diverse events to Oamaru to make the facility more accessible to everyone, she said.

But Oamaruvians needed to come to these shows in order for the diverse programme of events to continue.

“I know there’s a lot of people in Oamaru who haven’t ever been into the Opera House.

“I challenge those people to come and see at least one show or have a look around the building. You will be amazed and very proud.

“There’ll be people in Oamaru who would love some of the work that comes through and they just miss out.”

Mrs Peacock Coyle will be finishing at the Oamaru Opera House in October to take up the position of manager of the Baycourt Community and Arts Centre in Tauranga.

While she said she would be sorry to leave, she was excited about the opportunity to be closer to her family and to work in a larger city.

“I will be very sad because I’ve grown very fond of Oamaru as a town and especially the magnificent Opera House.”

She will stay in Oamaru until Ladies For Hire, Musical Theatre Oamaru’s show, which she is directing, has been completed.

The show will be performed as a theatre restaurant at the Oamaru Opera House from October 30 to November 8.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

SUPPORT NEEDED: Oamaru Opera House director Megan Peacock Coyle says people need to support shows for the acts to continue coming to Oamaru.