'A Funny Thing Happened ... ' - Manager of Entertainment Venues Tamworth, Peter Ross
Summary: Peter Ross is the Manager of Entertainment Venues in the regional city of Tamworth. He acknowledges that "A strong arts scene is recognised as one of the elements that attracts and keeps people in regional centres". He is responsible for programming and leading the city's live performance and conference venues - the Capitol Theatre Tamworth, Tamworth Town Hall and the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre. Ross has changed the direction of theatre in Tamworth and raised the bar on local theatre. Bringing outstanding artists and increasing audience numbers. In the home of Country Music he has also assumed the role of Executive Producer and Director of the Golden Guitar awards. And celebrated Community Theatre - an opportunity for community to express their artistic leanings and find a valuable social outlet. A self-confessed 'jack of all trades' his theatrical life leading to this position saw him navigate a variety of roles on and off the stage. Each has informed and given terrific insight to frame his work today. Growing up in Newcastle, he initially set forth studying visual arts. An opportunity presented itself for a Stage Manager at The Hunter Valley Theatre Company, which he took up with glee. This lead to onstage roles with the company and with the theatre in education group, Freewheels Theatre Company and the original production of Nick Enright's Property of the Clan. Study at The West Australian Academy of Performing Arts followed, in the Musical Theatre course. Ross developed his performance skills while also writing a musical and finessing his directing ability. He then juggled a series of personas as performer, producer, director and resident director on a series of productions that included Jon English's Buskers and Angels, Summer Rain at The Sydney Theatre Company, Mary Bryant at The Ensemble Theatre and Hugh Jackman's Arena tour of The Boy From Oz. Ross was 'on the ground' and took Producing and Directing roles presenting Musicals with the Kookaburra Musical Theatre Company. It was an exciting venture that promised great theatre experiences but sadly did not survive its rocky beginning. He speaks candidly of that period. Managing theatre venues is an enormous task, especially in this time of Covid-19. The safety of audience, performers and staff is paramount in any attempt to get theatres going again. Peter Ross is determined to make those experiences a reality and describes the measures now in place at venues, while also reflecting on a vibrant life working in the theatre. The Stages podcast is available from Apple podcasts, Spotify, Whooshkaa and where all good podcasts are found.