The Little Prince is a fantasy book written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and published in 1943 and is one of the best-selling and most translated books ever published.
A stage production opened at The Coliseum in Rooty Hill last night.
So what can the event industry learn from this production?
In essence, don’t expect people to turn up for your event.
Despite (or because of) the fact that there are currently no restrictions (except mask wearing) on people attending indoor events in NSW such as theatre, and no capacity limits, the stalls section of The Coliseum was at around 60% capacity. The circle was not open.
There is currently a distinct lack of confidence in the population when it comes to attending events – indoors or outdoors.
The Sydney NYE fireworks usually attracts over a million people to the harbour foreshores, this year the crowd estimates were in the 10s of thousands only.
But back to The Little Prince – a very enjoyable show for all ages. This touring production was mounted in Marseilles with an international cast. The set is entirely projected and uses very few props, relying instead on dance, acrobatics and immersive projection, lighting and soundtrack. Being such a technical show it can take some time to reset when you lose power. The entire suburb of Rooty Hill was blacked out half way through the first act, it only took a couple of minutes for the emergency generator to kick in and then for the house lights to come up, but it took a further 15 mins or so to reset and resume the action.
Another note for event managers – keep your audience informed. We were advised of a “technical issue” by the SM and only found out at interval that the adjacent RSL Club (owner of The Coliseum) and suburb were blacked out. This also applies to the NYE performance of Moulin Rouge the musical abruptly cancelled midway through after positive COVID case (and the headline is misleading – the curtain came down towards the end of the show)
My only criticism of The Little Prince was that at two hours it was a bit long to maintain the interest of today’s screen generation – we had a couple of very restless under 6 year olds behind us. Ninety mins without an interval would have been much better.
I recommend the production – make the trip to Rooty Hill, it is not as far as you think! For more on the show I recommend this review from The Guardian The Little Prince review – wistful and beguiling production casts a surreal spell
We were sitting next to a couple from Bellevue Hill (Sydney’s East) who never knew such a theatre facility existed outside the Sydney CBD. In fact this is one of two wonderful theatres in the middle of Greater Sydney, the other is Riverside Theatres in Parramatta which is hosting a production of A Chorus Line as part of the Sydney Festival, I’m attending this production next week and hope it is better patronised.
It seems now that nearly everyone knows someone who has been hit by COVID (I’m no exception). So how did I feel about attending such an event? I would be more comfortable if the NSW Premier was not so gung ho about letting it rip. Currently almost anything goes so I’m grateful to the venues that are maintaining the previous restrictions requiring QR check in and proof of vaccination. I’m happy to visit them and am avoiding those that do not.
The current NSW guidelines for theatres is covered under – an entertainment facility or indoor and outdoor recreation facilities.
- Visitors and staff are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
- COVID-19 Safe Check-in is not required.
- Face masks are required, subject to exemptions.
I can find no specific guidelines for conference and exhibition venues – so we must assume they are covered under entertainment facilities.
So when it comes to events, who is going to take the risk? Not so much the risk that someone will catch COVID at the event, but the risk that people will not attend for fear of catching COVID.
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince