RATEPAYERS LEFT WITH £500K THEATRE BILL

Theatre at The Mill. INNT 24-134-FP
Theatre at The Mill. INNT 24-134-FP

A REPORT into the viability of running two theatres within the borough revealed that it has cost ratepayers more than £500,000 to operate the new state-of-the-art Theatre at The Mill and the Courtyard Theatre in the past financial year.

One of the new theatre’s headline acts, ‘Five Guys Named Moe’, sold only a quarter of its tickets, losing the council almost £40,000.

The report, ‘A Tale of Two Theatres’ was commissioned by councillors to examine the sustainability of operating the two theatres, which are located less than half a mile apart.

Since the new 400-seater Theatre at The Mill (pictured above) opened in January 2010 almost £1.25 million has been spent, while it generated an income of just over £500,000 - constituting a loss close to £750,000, according to the report.

Combined figures for the last financial year reveal that the two theatres cost the council in excess of the half-million-pound mark.

However, despite the staggering costs associated with running the two venues, the report finds that there is a place for both the Theatre at The Mill and the Courtyard.

The Chairman of the council’s Leisure Committee, which is responsible for overseeing both facilities, said the losses could not continue. “There is a case for both the theatres; they are very different venues and have their place in the borough. But losses of over £500,000 cannot be allowed to continue,” said councillor John Scott.

The council is to conduct another review of the two venues in six months time.

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