The tour of the stage production ‘Cats’ has provided a unique entertainment experience and a welcome economic boost for regional communities, according to Regional Development Minister Hendy Cowan.
Mr Cowan said members of the Cats Touring Company had also worked with local community, drama and school groups along the way, imparting information about theatre production and marketing.
In a seven-week regional tour, ‘Cats’ played in Broome, Karratha, Geraldton, Mandurah, Bunbury, Albany and Kalgoorlie-Boulder. The show’s Perth season opens today.
The State Government provided $200,000 in sponsorship to Really Useful Productions for the regional tour, the money coming from the Regional Development Trust Fund.
Mr Cowan said the tour had provided significant economic benefits to local communities.
“Local businesses have enjoyed increased patronage, particularly by visitors from surrounding areas who have travelled to see the show,” he said.
“The producers estimate they will have incurred direct local expenditure of between $750,000 and $1 million. Money spent locally by the producers includes items such as advertising, fuel, accommodation, production supplies, local labour and ticketing agent commissions.
“That is an important spin-off from the tour, but the real value is the production itself and what has been imparted by its actors and crew.”
Mr Cowan said school groups in centres such as Broome, Karratha, Bunbury and Albany had been given the unique opportunity to take part in panel sessions with company members who had given them an insight into the technical, theatrical, dance and logistical aspects of the show.
“Many of these students had never seen a live theatre performance before,” he said.
“From another perspective, the company has said that the meetings gave them an opportunity to learn more about the centres they visited.
“In addition, several charity organisations were involved in special ‘Cats breakfasts’ in front of the Big Top to raise money for their organisation.
“Talks were also conducted in areas outside the tour schedule, with Esperance theatre buffs being visited by company members during a one-night stopover.”
Mr Cowan said the Cats sponsorship was just one way the Government was promoting theatrical arts in the country.
It had recently announced a $400,000 funding boost for regional arts, also through the Regional Development Trust Fund.
This included $280,000 to establish a program of concerts in regional areas and for arts co-ordinators to work with teachers and students in the Kimberley, Gascoyne and Pilbara regions to develop new arts activities.
An amount of $120,000 would fund grants to community arts events and activities in regional areas.
“The Regional Development Trust Fund was set up specifically to fund projects that support our Regional Development Policy and the varied range of arts initiatives announced so far clearly fit the bill,” the Minister said.
Media contact: Peter Jackson 9222-9595