Financial success or not, director pleased

Nicholas McBryde
Nicholas McBryde
The director of the  10th Arts Festival Dunedin says the 10-day event was an artistic and critical success, but he faces a nervous few weeks before discovering whether it was a financial success.

Whatever the outcome, Nicholas McBryde said he would be returning for the next festival in 2020, and had already begun preliminary planning.

Mr McBryde was the founding director of the festival.

He stood down after the 2010 event, but was reinstated in 2013 after the seventh festival in 2012 made a loss.

"It’s been a whirlwind," he said of the past 10 days.

"I am really thrilled with the quality and charm of what we’ve put on stage."

Mr McBryde said this year’s package included  everything from confronting theatre to entertainment and "high art".

"Generally speaking it’s been remarkable."

He said he was "a little bit disappointed" with ticket sales.

"I just don’t know how to engage more with the Dunedin public.

"It’s always a challenge."

People’s choices for their leisure were "many and various", but the emotion of the shared experience at an arts event could not be matched.

Door sales figures were on a par with the last festival, which struggled to break even, but did so in the end.

"I’m going to be nervous for the next couple of weeks."

All artists had already been paid, but there were still bills  to come in.

"The jury is out on how well we will do."

It would take about six weeks to become clear.

The festival had a triple bottom line of artistic, critical and financial success.

He was "very, very happy" with its artistic success, and felt it had been mostly well received by the public.

Highlights for Mr McBryde this year included Air Play, the New York circus-style event at the Regent Theatre, and Beloved Muse, a one-woman show from Austria.

The daily lunchtime events at St Paul’s Cathedral also worked well.

"That’s always a joy."

Mr McBryde said he  had a file on his computer containing 15 possible shows for the 2020 festival.

"Very, very soon that file will be opened, and we’ll start looking at that."

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