Dracula's Cabaret Operations and Production Manager, Luke Newman, gives his personal insight into the pros and cons of working in a family business in the interview below.
1. Can you please give us a quick overview of your business?
Dracula’s Cabaret is a third-generation entertainment company. Our core product is a dinner & show experience in our purpose-built theatre on the Gold Coast. We also have a new touring version of our show which launched in 2021. The business is unique in that there are so many sub-departments which make up the whole experience. The live cabaret show is designed and produced in-house, as well as sets, props, and costumes. Our ticketing and administration are all done internally, as well as marketing and graphic design. The venue also features a photographic department and a retail space, and our kitchen can cater to 550 a-la-carte meals per night.
2. What is the most rewarding aspect of working in a family business?
For me, the most rewarding part of our type of business is how flexible and dynamic we can be with our decision making and planning. We’re a private, family owned and operated company, so if we want to do something… we just do it. And being an entertainment product, we can literally see and hear the results of our efforts by the nightly reaction of our audience. It’s a very fast feedback loop!
3. Working amongst family has its difficulties, what would you say is the most challenging aspect?
I’d say the hardest thing is separating the family from the business.
4. From your experience, what advice would you give to other family-owned businesses?
Communication is key! I believe clear and open communication can prevent a lot of future conflict. Ultimately, each member of the family is invested (financially and emotionally) and wants the business to succeed. So being able to openly discuss plans, aspirations and expectations is so important.
5. Why did you want to be involved with your family business?
In my case, there was never any pressure to get involved, it was just a natural thing that happened over time. As I kid, I always wanted to go to the theatre after school and be around as much as possible for rehearsals. I would sit behind my dad while he programmed lighting for the show, or recorded voice overs and edited content at home. It was always of interest to me, and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to try different roles within the business as I grew up.
6. How do you keep your family time separate from the family business dynamic?
It’s certainly a challenge, and something that takes practice. It’s so natural to fall back on “work talk”. And, when you’re around your family in a work setting so much, it can seem to strange to schedule personal time, but I think that’s also an important thing to do.