Mandurah Performing Arts Centre looks to embrace local market amid events crisis

The Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (MANPAC) will open its doors for its first show since coronavirus restrictions came into place next month.

Northern Territory-based Aboriginal dance group Djuki Mala will hit the centre on October 3, bringing their high energy performance to help break a near six-month drought of live shows.

But the future still remains uncertain for Mandurah's premier venue, which in the past has relied heavily on interstate and international acts to please capacity crowds.

Djuki Mala will play their performance after serving a two-week quarantine period in Perth, before going on to tour around Western Australia.

Djuki Mala will play the first show the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre has hosted in almost six months when they touch down in October. Photo: Supplied.

Djuki Mala will play the first show the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre has hosted in almost six months when they touch down in October. Photo: Supplied.

But while serving the quarantine fortnight might be viable for touring acts, it won't be for those making simple one-leg stopovers in the state.

That's what has the centre looking to local, WA-based acts as they hope to breathe life back into the venue.

"We're certainly seeing much more demand for local acts that we might not usually host," MANPAC acting chief executive officer Marc Missiaen said.

"But we're embracing the change. We need to be able to adapt if we want to get live shows back into the centre."

Since March the centre has seen hundreds of cancellations and postponements, with management reducing operating costs by 75 per cent.

Current restrictions still see their 700-seat theater limited to just 261 patrons.

October 24, when the WA government will announce whether the state can enter phase five of coronavirus restrictions, looms as a significant date for the centre and the wider events industry.

"If phase five can come into effect, we can go back to hosting capacity crowds, which will be a huge step forward," Mr Missiaen said.

"Our fingers are crossed, but it has been pushed back twice already so who knows?

"Hopefully we can get back to holding full crowds, because then we can start planning the centre's future a little more clearly."

But in the meantime things are starting to pick up for MANPAC, with staff now harbouring some optimism after what has been a vastly challenging period.

"Things like graduations and local dance school events are starting to come back, and we are really embracing that," Mr Missiaen said.

"Anything we can do to work with local performers and help out local people is something we will look to."

The Djuki Mala performance will be somewhat of a milestone for the venue.

"We're just excited to be back putting on a show," Mr Missiaen said.

"We're extremely passionate about the performing arts and we want to do everything we can to showcase talented acts to Mandurah, so this is a big step in the right direction."

For more information on the Djuki Mala show contact the MANPAC Box Office on 9550 3900 or visit manpac.com.au