Going national

Could a national theatre company really work?

The prospect of a national theatre company is one that has been discussed many times before, and of course in musical theatre terms it was tried bravely by Peter Cousens with Kookaburra, but for various reasons the dream wasn’t to be.

However, despite this, is it possible that such a company could ever get up and work?

It’s my view that a national musical theatre company would be a big task to get up and running to a sustainable standard, and it will take an extremely brave person to try it again.

However, a national theatre company is not out of the question.

A theatre company modelled on the format of the Sydney Theatre Company or the Melbourne Theatre Company but on a national level has some merit, particularly given the nature of Australia as a country and the proven success of touring shows to regional centres.

It seems that we tour shows so often to different states that we already have national theatre companies, albeit in an unofficial sense. So, is there any reason to make it official?

The short answer to that is yes. One would think a nationally funded theatre company would have to be a success, especially if it had a wide scale of productions ranging from plays to musicals.

The development, education and production values already existing in the state theatre companies would surely only grow if it was all on a national scale.

The only way it would work is if the major state theatre companies all merged to form the National Theatre Company. I couldn’t see a fresh national company competing against the likes of the Sydney Theatre Company and Melbourne Theatre Company ever working – it’d need to be a renewed, combined effort.

Whatever your view, it’s food to thought, one would think.

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