The Speculator joined a modest crowd who attended The Vic’s AGM last night. Among the 15-20 attendees were Dianne Hale, John Davies, Margot McRae, Mark Sigglekow and the irrepressible James Lundy, who gave an off the cuff talk after the formal proceedings had been completed.
Margot McRae gave a quick overview of what had been accomplished in the last year. Once the launch had been completed, The Vic was averaging 1,000 patrons a week she stated, with two sold-out musicals, the Te Radar show selling out The Outbox Theatre’s performance of Chekhov’s The Bear doing “quite well.”
The vision remains to develop The Vic into a “multi-theatre arts complex” as Mark Sigglekow described it, and it is fair to say the Trust have big plans for The Vic, including a continued and comprehensive restoration programme. This will involve moving the Benwell Theatre to nearer the Albert Theatre into an area currently curtained off and unused, while restoring the original mezzanine which previously occupied the space now held by the Benwell. Earthquake strengthening will also be required, although it is thought some was done back in 1989.
On enquiring further regarding the financials for the current financial year (the accounts presented were for the previous financial year that ended five days after the launch), The Speculator was surprised to be met with a certain amount of recalcitrance around the details. So, at 1,000 paying customers per week, The Speculator estimates that revenue to be around $615k per annum, and together with revenues from the Dida’s lease and other income, The Vic should be on target for around $700k annual revenues.
A cost base estimate was beyond The Speculator’s limited financial prowess (or non-existent financial prowess as the Speculator’s long-suffering accountant might suggest), but Sigglekow mentioned that the first year would be “pretty thin” in terms of profit. It was hoped that if the strategies put in place worked, the numbers would be consistently black going forward however.
When The Speculator asked stand-in treasurer Adrian Orr if he could provide any information on how the business was performing according to the plan, or indeed was performing to plan, the answer was a curt “Yes.” The Speculator was a little non-plussed by the evasiveness, as like the rest of the community, it is keen to know that a sustainable business is being built in order to ensure The Vic’s longevity. In his speech after the formalities, James Lunday said “the financials don’t matter; what is important is that we have (launched) a community resource” apparently unaware of the howling contradiction inherent in his statement.
The Speculator applauds the vision that has culminated in The Vic as it is today, but is equally concerned to know that having been launched, it will continue to fly. We will presumably have to wait until next May to find out.