Jessica McSweeney

NSW needs to “maintain the rage” if Sydney is to stay ahead of Melbourne in the race for major theatrical productions, business leaders say.

Sydney has for the first time since Covid secured productions for all major venues in the lead-up to Christmas with seats selling fast for Wicked, Beauty and the Beast, Miss Saigon and Tina. Business Sydney executive director Paul Nicolaou said it was without question Sydney was now the arts capital – but recent cuts to Destination NSW could put that at risk. “Four of five major productions this year went to Sydney, not Melbourne … this was gained through Destination NSW, who helped fund some of these productions in Sydney, and without their support some of these productions wouldn’t come here,” Mr Nicolaou said.

“What is going to happen next year, there’s no major events, no World Pride, no Women’s World Cup, so we need to make sure Destination NSW has the funds to attract these major theatre productions and events to Sydney.”

Destination NSW was allocated $422m in the last budget and spent about $352m in the last budget year. This budget has cut that down to $339m.