Dracula’s to close after 37 years

Outside Venue

By Jayden Forster

MELBOURNE’S iconic vampire-themed cabaret venue, Dracula’s, announced on Tuesday that it would have its final curtain call on December 23.

The Carlton landmark first opened its doors in 1980.

It was founded 37 years ago by John and his late wife Tikki Newman as part of their company, Newman Entertainment International.

For more than 50 years John and Tikki Newman have set the bar for the dinner show industry with other venues in the Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise.

Luke Newman, third generation of the famous family and operations manager at Dracula’s,  has seen the taste for flesh and blood dry up in Melbourne in recent years.

Performers on stage during a performance at Dracula’s. Credit: Dracula’s.

Performers on stage during a performance at Dracula’s. Credit: Dracula’s.

“There’s so much variety of entertainment in Melbourne, and unfortunately we’ve seen our bookings decline over recent years”, he said.

Despite the difficult decision to close Dracula’s, the show is still attracting great reviews.

Dracula’s made the shock announcement on Facebook on Tuesday, thanking fans for their contribution to what has been an incredibly rewarding and successful business.

Luke Newman said, “we want to go out on a high, so have decided to make the call before we start to see the quieter numbers affect the quality of our product.”

Performers on stage during a performance at Dracula’s. Credit: Dracula’s.

Performers on stage during a performance at Dracula’s. Credit: Dracula’s.

The company employs around 100 people at the Victoria Street venue.

Dracula’s, has vowed to help staff find future employment when it closes its doors in December.

Newman said some staff will stay on with the company and they will help those who choose to leave as best they can.

“We have an amazing group of talented staff, and we have no doubt that other entertainment and hospitality venues will be dying to snatch them up.”

“Some will be staying on to continue working at our Gold Coast venue, or on one of our new edutainment projects, such as Phobia2 which opens at the Science Centre Singapore in October.”

Performers on stage during a performance at Dracula’s. Credit: Dracula’s.

Performers on stage during a performance at Dracula’s. Credit: Dracula’s.

Dracula’s opened in 1980 at a small warehouse in Drewery Lane in the Melbourne CBD.

Based on the Rocky Horror Picture Show, the theatre restaurant became an instant hit with couples and singles looking for an outrageous night of quality entertainment.

It moved to its current location on Victoria Street in 1990, where it offers theatregoers an adrenaline filled dinner and show at the most out there comedy theatre in town.

John and Tikki Newman are credited with opening the first dinner theatre venue in Australia.

In the 1960s, they decided to open a late-night coffee house on Exhibition Street, a venue designed to catch the crowds as they left the theatre.

They have no plans to sell the Melbourne site and the Gold Coast venue will continue to operate as normal.

Luke said “Melbourne is one of the greatest entertainment cities of the world” and agreed the restaurant’s closure would have some impact on the local industry.

“Melbourne has become one of the great entertainment cities of the world, with international and local acts performing nightly.”

“No doubt this will continue to thrive, but there’ll be a small Dracula’s shaped hole missing.”

Dracula’s Melbourne will have its final curtain call on December 23.

Customers with bookings after this date will get a refund or transfer.

See the full statement from Dracula’s HERE