Can we all just get along?

Anyone who lives in Australia understands the rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney for entertainment capital of the nation. But what if they stopped competing and actually worked together?

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Australia received amazing news today. The recent Broadway and West End smash hit Matilda is making its way to Australian shores. But you would be forgiven for missing this important news – especially over the constant sounds of competition between Melbourne and Sydney theatre markets.

Australia has been fortunate to secure some pretty impressive shows over the last year. Yet the news is always released with an emphasis on the city where the premiere occurs. Sydney has scored the premiere seasons of Matilda, The Lion King and the world-premiere of Strictly Ballroom. Melbourne locked in the premiere seasons for the long-awaited return of Wicked, Les Misérables and the world-premiere of King Kong.

Can we just call it a draw?

There are certainly advantages to the competition between the states. And they are mostly financial as the states put more money towards trying to outdo the other. But imagine if both cities pooled their resources.

Imagine if it wasn’t just Melbourne and Sydney. Imagine if even more Australian cities, like rising entertainment capital Brisbane, joined the team to bring the newest hits to Australia.

Imagine the huge audiences that big budget shows could reach if they all toured across Australia!

I’d better stop with the imagining before this turns into the John Lennon song about world co-operation and peace. But I think there might be something to this idea. Rather than spending the money competing, why not pool the money and target an Australia-wide audience?

If all Australian cities worked together we may have a chance of eventually lifting our theatre and entertainment profile in the world. But working alone? Well we have access to fewer audiences and a smaller amount of funding – and that just leads to less potential!

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