Live Music & Events
Speaking with Kathleen Evans from the Milton Theatre in Milton, New South Wales.
For more information visit www.miltontheatre.com.au.
1. How long has the venue been presenting live music for and what is the capacity of the venue?
The Milton Theatre is a 212 seat historic venue that has been fully refurbished with the latest sound and lighting equipment. It was built in 1927 and was originally the Milton School of Arts with dancing and other community events and activities. From 1976 until 1993 the theatre was used solely as a movie theatre. Since renovations in 1997, the venue has run as a non-profit venture and been managed by a community-based volunteer management committee.
The building is now used for live theatre, live music, as a recording studio and for community performances with artists that have played including the likes of Justin Townes-Earle, Tony Joe White, Holly Throsby, Harry Manx, Mark Seymour, Cat Power, Diesel, John Waters, Renee Geyer and more.
2. How often do you have live music?
The theatre usually puts on between two and four shows per month.
3. Do you have all ages gigs?
Most shows are all ages.
4. How do you choose the types of live music you program?
The management committee has a charter to inform our programming. Primarily it’s to provide diverse cultural activities to enrich the local community. We try to book a wide variety of artists – local and international from all kinds of genres.
5. How does a muso get a gig at your venue?
Contact our bookings officer via the details on the website.
6. What challenges do you face as a venue that presents live music?
As a smallish regional venue, it’s sometimes difficult to get higher profile artists to visit, due to travel and accommodation costs. Also, as we are trying to cater to a wide variety of tastes, we don’t always get a sell out crowd. And there is the battle against the television for audience members.
7. What was the most memorable show at your venue?
Some highlights in recent years – C.W. Stoneking, Justin Townes Earle, Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club, Renee Geyer, Sarah Blasko, Mark Seymour, so many memories!
8. What makes a great gig?
Great artists! I think the relaxed feel of the Milton Theatre contributes to great gigs. It’s an intimate venue, the room sounds great and the hospitality is second to none. The drinks are cheap and the Tim Tams are on the house.
9. How do you use digital and social media in conjunction with traditional advertising?
We are relatively new to incorporating Facebook into our promotions and we probably connect more with ticket-buying locals via radio, newspapers, theatre newsletter and posters. However, we have just started using the Facebook ‘Events’ interface as a way to connect directly to our online box office and we’re in the process of assessing how effective or useful this will be for us.
10. Ticketing for live shows is changing. How do you manage access and ticketing to your venue?
We sell an average of about 50% from a local store and 50% via online ticketing. In our case, we still need to retain in store/offline ticket sales, as some people (for whatever reason) might not be able to buy online. For example holiday makers don’t always have access to a computer. Or some of the older audience members prefer to buy in-person. Online is especially useful too, as people from Sydney or Canberra planning a weekend in the area can purchase tickets online in advance.