Cabaret in question after loss

Ruby Island in Lake Wanaka.
Ruby Island in Lake Wanaka.
This month's Cabaret on Ruby in Wanaka was hailed a huge success by organisers and those attending, but a question mark remains over whether a repeat performance of the event - which ran at a loss - is possible.

Lake Wanaka SouNZ Inc (LWSI) organised the cabaret on Lake Wanaka's Ruby Island on February 3, the first time such an event had been held there since the Saturday night dances in the 1920s and 1930s.

LWSI is a non-profit organisation which puts the proceeds from its long-running Rippon Music Festival, held every second February, towards local causes, music scholarships and music workshops. Its director, Lynne Christie, said while the cabaret had been extremely well-received by everybody involved, it had not been financially viable and was partly funded by LWSI.

All 200 of the event's $200 tickets sold, but the costs involved - including flying a piano, Portaloos and other equipment to the island - had not been fully recovered.

''We knew that there was really no chance of [breaking even], so Lake Wanaka SouNZ has been underwriting this one,'' Ms Christie said.

''So it's just whether we're prepared to do that on a regular basis really ... Whether we can take on that extra onus.''

A full debriefing would be held in the next couple of months, but it was likely a decision on whether the cabarets could continue would not be made until after the next Rippon Festival, on February 1, 2014.

''If we don't make a decent profit with the next Rippon, which sometimes we don't, sometimes there's a deficit, it definitely won't be happening again.''

Suggestions had already been made by the cabaret crew on how the event might be simplified in the future to reduce costs, Ms Christie said.

''But, at the end of the day, a party on an island is going to come with its own set of logistical nightmares.''

- lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz