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Future looking bright for Marine Hall & Little Theatre

The future of both Fleetwood's Marine Hall and Thornton Little theatre is looking bright after both reported increased revenue.

Several years ago there were concerns for the future of both venues due to the cost in running them, but both centres are now on an upturn.

Councillors at the latest meeting of Wyre’s overview and scrutiny committee heard that there were several reasons for the boost in figures, including a change in the way the theatre is hired for shows and the number of wedding events doubling.

A council officer’s report stated: “An analysis of financial performance at the end of the financial year 2018/19 shows that there has been a much better control of expenditure as well as a significant increase in the income generated.

“The target was to achieve the subsidy level for Marine Hall of £251,000 and £118,000 for Thornton Little Theatre (TLT) but performance has been much better than this and the subsidy has reduced to £226,536 for Marine Hall and £93,988 for TLT.”

The improved income has been raised through general lettings as well as an increase in the number of weddings, resulting in increased income from just over £5,000 for wedding bookings in 17/18 to over £10,000 in 18/19, with an associated additional bar spend of over £15,000.

There has also been an increase in commission from catering and ticket sales of more than £12,000.

The report added: “The programme at both theatres has been restructured, with a reduced number of direct engagements of artistes and an increase in the number of promoters hiring the venues or agreeing to split the box office takings with us instead of a guaranteed fee.

“This reduces the risk to the council and ensures that the independent promoters have an incentive to ensure a good audience.

“In addition to this, we now sell marketing packages to the hirers, which has brought in additional income.”

Additionally, a share of almost £1 million of Coastal Communities Fund Round 5 money has paved the way for the Marine Hall to host a “high quality performance” with acclaimed multi-iinstrumentaliist Evelyn Glennie appearing there on October 12.

That, and others initiatives, is likely to increase the income of the Marine Hall by £20,000 in this financial year.

The report also states that from 2018, an investment in recruiting and training staff in key posts has introduced more flexibility in the roles and a stronger emphasis on customer care, health and safety and income generation whilst controlling expenditure better.

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