Maybe we don’t deserve the Astor Theatre

OPINION / By Scott Costen


According to an usher, that’s how many tickets were sold for one of the best shows the Astor Theatre has staged in recent years.

Martin Dockery travelled all the way from Brooklyn (the American one) to deliver his riveting one-man show ‘Delirium’ to a captivated, but pathetically small, audience Jan. 26.
If he was from “our” Brooklyn, he probably would have packed the joint, even if his show consisted of reading from the South Shore phone book.

To his great credit, Dockery made the most of the measly audience South Queens gave him. He delivered a compelling, amusing and inspiring 90 minutes of first-rate storytelling. It’s too bad so few people were there to enjoy it.

Sadly, this isn’t an isolated incident.

Sure, we’ll fill the Astor for an amateur Christmas concert or a children’s music festival or a community theatre production. But when first-rate, professional artists pay us a visit, far too often you’ll see tumbleweed blowing through the theatre.

We may view ourselves as an arts and culture hub, but we sure don’t act like one.

Supporting local talent — which we do very well — is only part of the equation. We also need to embrace the new, the different, the unfamiliar.

Since 1902, the Astor has brought the best in theatre, music and film to Liverpool’s doorstep.

Its reputation was built by hosting leading acts, not local ones.

And its purpose was always to expand our horizons, not just reflect them.



  1. Here’s my personal reality and I suspect it is a reality for many. We are on a fixed income and as such, we have ‘x’ amount of money in our monthly entertainment budget. There are so many wonderful and exciting ‘attractions’ at the Astor. Ticket prices are reasonable. As much as we would love to attend most performances, the truth is, we can’t afford it. Sometimes, we have to take from more than one month’s budget to afford for both of us to attend a live performance at The Astor. Does our community derserve The Astor? Most certainly, it does. Just a thought- even though it is exciting to have so much going on at The Astor, fewer choices may result in increased attendance.


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