Tim Crakanthorp’s announcement of $3m pledged to the renovation of the Vic is a ground-breaking and game changing move:
It unlocks a valuable cultural facility that is also a much-loved heritage item and one of the few remaining heritage theatre buildings in the country available for reinvigoration;
It gives further credibility to the already overwhelming and universal desire to see the Vic returned as a working heritage theatre;
It unlocks the power, economy and value of a collaboration between government and a specialist and successful private sector operator in Century Venues. Century has a strong cultural conscience and a demonstrated ability and passion for heritage theatre buildings;
The pledge is a third of the money needed to get the Victoria Theatre up and running again. Even if the whole amount were pledged, $9.5M would create a working theatre in a prime location that would cost from scratch $60M to $80M;
The funding is a one-off capital investment that does NOT require recurrent government funding. The future operation will be self-sustaining. Government is great at providing assets: it does not need to be encumbered by having to run them and sustain them into the future;
Century is prepared to “gift” the theatre into a non-profit trust that would have a public purpose to hold and maintain the Victoria building in perpetuity as a working heritage theatre. Rent from the operations to the Trust would secure maintenance costs into the future;
There are models overseas where this type of initiative, relationship and governance structure exist. The Regal Theatre Perth parallels this trust model.