SunLive – Miserable end for the Tauranga Musical Theater show

“What cannot be changed, and still is, is the incredible emotional impact it takes on the entire cast and crew.”

Tauranga Musical Theater president Jeremy Sparrow talks about the cancellation of their season of ‘Les Miserables’.

Days away from setting up production, which was due to open on February 4, the country went red, forcing the theater company to cancel its long-awaited show.

The set was ready and the cast and crew of 130 were rehearsing at the Baycourt Community and Art Center.

The theater has a capacity of 580 and with gatherings limited to no more than 100 people, it is no longer financially viable for the season to go ahead, says Jeremy.

This isn’t the first time the cast have been disappointed with Covid-19 alert levels, production has been postponed to 2020 and again to 2021.

“It’s very emotional when you have 130 people who are affected by this,” says Jeremy.

“They’ve had 12 months of rehearsals for this now.”

In 1995 the Tauranga Musical Theater presented ‘Les Miserables’; the 2022 performances were going to be the reinvention of the musical.

“We have members of TMT who have waited 25 years to audition for this and for the show to come back,” the theater president says.

“For some actors, they would say it’s their dream role, it’s what they’ve been waiting for.

“So for them it’s a lifetime goal and for them to miss it is incredibly disappointing.”

The Tauranga Musical Theater is a non-profit organization and thousands of volunteer hours have been invested in ‘Les Miserables’.

Jeremy says they had phenomenal support from the community “and ticket sales were following ahead of their biggest show at Baycourt”.

Now the theater is asking those who had tickets and are able to donate the cost or a portion of the cost of their ticket to the theater to help recoup some of the expenses incurred. To do this, go to: www.taurangmusicaltheatre.co.nz

Financial support

The theater may also be eligible for support through the government’s latest Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund for any sunk costs.

Jeremy says the theater is now determining what its sunk costs are in order to apply.

“What cannot be calculated financially is the incredible cost that it costs a lot of people,” he reiterates.

Annie Hill, Funding and Projects Adviser at Creative Bay of Plenty, said it was great news to hear the announcement of the government’s Omicron relief fund for those working in the arts and culture sector. .

“People and organizations working in events are in their third year of disruption, experiencing great grief from planning events and then having to postpone or cancel.

“It is particularly encouraging to see emergency relief for those in need of essential financial support.

“We would be delighted to see this fund extended if the disruption lasts longer than two months to ensure sustainability for those adversely affected by the restrictions.”

For more information on the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund, visit: www.mch.govt.nz