from the editor
I WAS in Launceston two weeks ago to review a gala celebrating the Princess Theatre’s centenary and had the great pleasure of a quick tour of the premises with Robin Lohrey, general manager of the venue’s operator, Theatre North. She was good enough to let me walk on the stage to look out at the auditorium, which is always a thrill. To see a theatre from the performers’ perspective is magical. Later that day the theatre was close to capacity for the gala, a joint effort from the Australian Ballet and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, both of which donated their services as a birthday gift. Nice one. The Friday night audience was thrilled and Lohrey tells me phones were running hot on the Saturday as patrons sought last-minute tickets for that day’s matinee and evening show. But it’s not all galas and tiaras for the Princess, which hosts the whole gamut of theatrical activity: school performances, amateur productions, eisteddfods, commercial touring shows and visits from the subsidised sector (such as Bell Shakespeare and the TSO). It also gets involved occasionally in new work. In short, it’s part of the city in a way bigger theatres in more populous places rarely are. The Princess was, for close to 60 years, used as a cinema rather than the live venue originally planned, but now looks secure to do what it was always meant to do. In an email Lohrey wrote of the AB’s visit: ‘‘When patrons see performances like this they are taken to another place and it reinforces the importance of the arts in a healthy and dynamic community.’’ Hear, hear.