We're Back, Baby!
Since the decision was made to postpone our renovation start date to February, allowing us to
re-open, we have been blessed to witness firsthand a series of magical gigs week after week. Never in our wildest imagination could we ever have imagined the hunger for live entertainment caused by this pandemic – it’s unprecedented.
From both sides of the equation – onstage to off stage – audiences and artists alike have arrived at the Picture House wide-eyed and open to what the gig will bring. The spirit of excitement and anticipation is absolutely palpable on our show nights. If one could harness the electricity on Fingal Street thirty minutes prior to show time, with audiences milling around, catching up and awaiting entry into the venue – then we could power the Northern Rivers for years to come!
Like most small businesses across the country, when the reality of this pandemic came crashing down upon us in March, we were forced to close our doors. We saw all the hard work and the results of blood, sweat and tears that brought the Picture House to life quickly disappear in a matter of days. However, as quickly as we entered into this unknown territory, it appears we are re-emerging from it at a similar pace.
Like many others, we have been forced to adapt to this “new normal” and one positive thing that has come out of this pandemic is the opportunity for us to offer audiences new ways of experiencing our shows. The introduction of garden seating tickets, where we stream the show live with 5 cameras onto the big screen in the garden, has been enthusiastically embraced by audiences, young and old. This has also enabled us to offer the show at a lower price point, which has also been warmly welcomed. Whilst we are still operating at a significantly reduced capacity, the positive response to this new offering has without a doubt saved this little gem of a business from going under.
We have been at the receiving end of a nightly outpouring of gratitude as audiences walk out of our venue. We feel privileged and honoured to be hosting these extraordinary moments in time as artists and audiences both emerge from the dark. Since reopening, we have welcomed back a number of artists who have performed professionally for over 35 years but have not stepped into the stage lights since March – the longest period away from a stage for many since their careers started.
After 20 years touring internationally, doing 8 shows a week, we are eternally grateful to have dropped an anchor here in our corner of paradise. The touring world that we previously inhabited, simply does not exist anymore and it will be a long time before we see artists touring internationally again. History has proven that audiences seek out live entertainment through troubled times and the Brunswick Picture House is perfectly placed to welcome guests and provide a much-needed distraction from the real world.
Words by by Brett Haylock and Chris Chen © 2020
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Photograph by Lyn McCarthy