The Art of Buying Theatre

Each year, Riverlinks presents a broad range of cultural experiences for the benefit and enjoyment of our local community. These experiences range from ballet to burlesque and classical concerts to stand-up comedy. And the ticket price locally is often a lot less than for the same show in Melbourne.

But how does all this come about?

Firstly, a Riverlinks season is the culmination of long preparation, planning and juggling of schedules. What you see on the big stage at Eastbank or in your local hall takes years to coordinate. Right now, we are sourcing the 2016 season and beyond.

Secondly, regional theatres receive local government and state funding each year and that enables us to present shows and entertainment at a subsidised rate to the local community. As a result, you have the opportunity to see performances and concerts locally for a fraction of the cost that actually goes into producing and touring these shows.

The third and most mysterious part of the process is how we “buy” the shows that make up our season. Some of these are purchased directly from artists, agents and producers but a larger number are selected through a strange-sounding market place called Long Paddock.

Throughout each year, producers around Australia work with a national panel of coordinators known as the Blue Heelers Network who “round up” the shows onto a web-based “saleyard” called Cyberpaddock. Venues such as Riverlinks determine whether they are suitable for our annual seasons.

We then cast votes for the productions we like and those that the most interest are short-listed and the producers are invited to present excerpts of their shows over a marathon two day round-up called Long Paddock.  Venue managers assess upwards of thirty shows in a live theatre setting.

We then go back to Cyberpaddock and cast our final votes and, hopefully, our preferred choices receive government funding which enables them to put their shows on the road at a heavily subsidised price.

So next time you see an ad for a Riverlinks show you can rest assured that it has been through vigorous quality testing before it ends up in a stage near you - at a very reasonable ticket price!