Disney boss Thomas Schumacher backs new Brisbane theatre

DISNEY’S global theatre boss Thomas Schumacherhas thrown his support behind the push for a new major theatre for Brisbane.

Schumacher, president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, flew in from New York to launch the forthcoming season of Disney’s hit show Aladdin, which comes to QPAC in February with tickets on sale tomorrow. The stars of Aladdin (including Hiba Elchikheand Ainsley Melham) flew in from Melbourne to perform at the launch.

Schumacher said Brisbane was an important market but needed a major new theatre for big shows.

Thomas Schumacher, Disney Theatrical Productions, at QPAC. Picture: AAP Image/Mark Calleja

“For all of us who bring shows here … me, Cameron Mackintosh, Andrew Lloyd Webber, all of us would love to see another venue,” Schumacher said.

“Whether it’s civic or private is not my concern but there is a market here and sales are strong. The economic impact of live theatre and live performing arts for any community is large.”

QPAC’s Lyric Theatre is booked solid for the next few years which means without a new theatre of that size (2000 seats) we may miss out on shows.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed Foundation Theatres development.

There have been a number of proposals for a new theatre suggested including one by British theatre mogul Sir Howard Panter. But the firmest and most advanced is by Foundation Theatres and the company’s general manager Graeme Kearnssaid yesterday he was happy to hear that a heavyweight like Schumacher supported the idea.

“We have secured a site in the Brisbane’s CBD to build a 2000-seat theatre with variable capacity,” Mr Kearns said.

“This is desperately needed in Brisbane.”

Foundation Theatre’s project would be built on the old State Library site in Brisbane’s CBD as part of the Queen’s Wharf precinct. The company has $75 million for the development and would be seeking $25 million from the Government as part of a market led proposal to build and run the theatre.

Foundation Theatres owns and runs the Capitol Theatre and the Sydney Lyric Theatre at Echo Entertainment’s Star entertainment complex in Sydney.

A government spokesperson said the government knows there is a need for a second theatre and that it is exploring options.

“We can’t say anything further now because it is going through the Market Led Proposal process,” the spokesperson said.




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