Rising costs outweigh box office receipts

SYDNEY — The Sydney Theater Company, which Cate Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton are set to helm beginning next year, posted its second successive deficit in 2006.

In its annual report published this week, company keenly tubthumped its theatrical achievements while reporting a A$348,000 ($286,000) loss, almost three times that of the previous year.

Rising costs and ambitious programming outstripped gains in box office receipts for the subscription season (up 9%), receipts for the company overall, including its education and second-string programs (up 30%) and philanthropic donations (up 9%).

A bailout from the federal government in the form of $424,000 in additional funding announced in the recent budget should help the company cover its losses and rising costs.

Of her 10th and penultimate year as artistic director, Robyn Nevin said, “2006 has been acknowledged as a landmark year for the company, with our season in New York of my production of ‘Hedda Gabler’ and the inaugural productions of the STC Actors Company.”

Highest-grossing production in STC’s 330-seat Wharf 1 Theater was Peter Evans’ production of Neil LaBute’s “Fat Pig”; lowest grossing was Maeliosa Stafford’s production of Campion Decent’s “Embers.”

“A Kind of Alaska” and “Reunion,” the double bill that marked the mainstage directorial debuts of Blanchett and Upton, was the second lowest grossing production staged in Wharf 1 last year.

Highest-grossing production in the 544-seat Opera House Drama Theater was Julian Meyrick’s production of John Patrick Stanley’s “Doubt”; lowest grossing was Doug Wright’s “I Am My Own Wife.”

In the 820-seat Sydney Theater, the National Theater of Great Britain’s production of “The History Boys” was the highest-grossing show, while “The Lost Echo,” by Barrie Kosky and Tom Wright with the STC Ensemble, earned the lowest revenue, though it also played a strictly limited season.

The sellout 28-perf season of “Hedda Gabler” with Cate Blanchett at the Brooklyn Academy of Music grossed $1.5 million.

STC does not detail the costs of individual productions.

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