Whether it’s a merger, an acquisition or just plain transformation into another business entity, retailers today are branching out into areas up to now unimagined by the business community. Australian-based Westfield Corporation evidently has theatrical productions on its mind for its global shopping mall empire.
The Wind of Change Is Blowing
The Westfield Corporation already owns over 35 retail malls in the U.S., the U.K. and in Italy. However, an out-of-the-box mindset blew into the Westfield corporate offices recently as they hired Tony Award winner Scott Sanders to help explore and manage diverse entertainment and amusement platforms to enhance the existing shopping environment. Scott Sanders Theatrical Productions, the same company that produced the most recent musical stage adaptation of “The Color Purple,” is now the Creative Head of Global Entertainment for Westfield. Among Scott Sanders’ new responsibilities, according to Westfield, are presenting innovative entertainment and experiential events for vast Westfield mall properties spread out all over the world.
Sanders Not In Totally Uncharted Waters
Not a stranger to new theatrical-like experiences, Sanders earlier produced staged routines for the Radio City Music Hall. Moreover, in 1993, he staged Michael Jackson’s Super Bowl XXVII half-time presentation. Fascinated by the spectacle successes of the critically acclaimed Cirque du Soleil productions, Sanders longed for larger spaces to produce his works.
Live, short-form entertainment is not the only thing on Scott Sanders’ mind. Westfield offices agree with his vision to not only have entertainment combined with retailing, as such, but specialty restaurants, TV production and viewing, dance productions and vast Internet facilities as well. In addition, his vision incorporates all the above plus utilizing vacant mall space for late evening and late weekend hours when shopping tends to slow down.
One of the top executives of Westfield, Peter Lowyy. recently stated “It’s important that as we continue to integrate our digital platform with our physical assets that we also provide vibrant, exciting places for retailers and consumers. “Scott’s talent and experience will help us create compelling new content and entertainment.”
Under the Westfield corporate banner, Sanders continues with the development and production of Broadway-bound plays including, “Tootsie,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “Up Here.” Moreover, a motion picture adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights” is already in the works.
The combining of mall shopping experiences and a theatrical touch will provide a promising expectation of success. While this is not the first time such an experience has been attempted in malls, it is the first on such a grand scale with so many high-caliber theatrical professionals involved. As of 2014, The Westfield Group, out of Australia and New Zealand, separated from its international holdings. That said, it in effect created The Westfield Corporation that focuses on its mostly American properties.