Community theatre groups are struggling to fill seats as cost of living forces theatregoers to decide if they can afford a night out.

The notion of the starving artist has been a cliché for many years, long before the pandemic and the financial crisis that followed. But now, more than ever, performers are finding it difficult to get their foot in the door.

Picton Theatre Group President, Mr Peter Donnelly said it has been difficult to balance the rising cost of living pressures for audience members with the increasing costs of putting on local productions.

“Local or community theatre is vital, especially in outlying areas, as it provides affordable entertainment to local communities,” Mr Donnelly said.

“To ensure theatre groups remain viable, they have to be conscious of ticket prices whilst also ensuring that production costs are covered.

“During and immediately post-pandemic, most small theatre groups struggled as the public were either restricted from going out or still very cautious to gather in public areas so, it took some time before community confidence was high enough to ensure that new productions were well attended.”

Costumes for the production of Cat’s Cradle were sourced from the cast’s wardrobes  to keep costs low.

“Production costs vary between productions,” Mr Donnelly said.

“These costs include venue hire for rehearsals and actual show dates, licencing costs, costuming expenses, set material costs and other ancillary costs.

“Our aim is to sell a minimum of 200 tickets per production to cover the average cost of a production plus general yearly expenses.”

The production opens at 7pm on the Saturday, October 7, 2023 and runs every Saturday until October 21, 2023.