Panto hooks great profit for theatre

PANTO bosses in Ipswich are smiling all the way to the bank today as figures reveal they have hooked a massive profit from the Peter Pan show.The once controversial decision to stage the show has proved to be the jewel in the Regent's financial crown this year - as a profit of more than £100,000 is celebrated.

PANTO bosses in Ipswich are smiling all the way to the bank today as figures reveal they have hooked a massive profit from the Peter Pan show.

The once controversial decision to stage the show has proved to be the jewel in the Regent's financial crown this year - as a profit of more than £100,000 is celebrated.

December saw the return of professional pantomime to the Ipswich Regent after a 27-year tradition of performances by amateur group the Co-op Juniors in a bid to secure the financial future of the theatre.

Having coped with the controversy of ending the much-loved Juniors show and seen thousands of visitors flock to see the panto starring Brian Blessed and Kirsten O'Brien, council decision makers say they can prove they did the right thing.


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After securing a deal for the pantomime with the show's production company, ensuring the council would earn at least £129,250 from the ticket sales the stage was set for the venue to raise a profit that would help bankroll it through the financial year and reduce the expenditure by the council.

But the sale of 36,503 tickets and other income earned during the run of 48 shows ensured the council came close to doubling it's target profit of £58,750.

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Councillor Judy Terry, Ipswich Borough Council's portfolio holder for culture and leisure has welcomed the figures - and said it shows the pantomime was the right move.

She said: “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted with these results.

“The most important thing to remember is that the theatre had previously been on the verge of closure.

“We did the pantomime on a low risk basis - I knew it was a great opportunity but I wasn't so confident that I would take a risk.”

Mrs Terry added although the decision to not have the Co-op Juniors show had been difficult, it was one that had paid off.

She said: “I'm really pleased the Juniors have been able to change things and have a success themselves and it has been good for the Regent.

“I would say we have proved the point that a well run theatre can make money, bring people in and be a great asset to the town.”

Running the theatre costs £705,000 of public money each year. Theatre bosses were this year told by the council they had to reduce this cost by £235,000.

Meeting that target means the theatre must not only bring in profit, but it must also find ways to cut expenditure.

The profit made from Peter Pan will go a long way to ensuring the theatre meets that target when the annual figures are released at the end of the financial year.

What do you think? Do you think the decision to have the pantomime has paid off? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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