Worthing Borough Council issued the following statement today (Thursday July 3rd) following media speculation of the closing of one of Worthing’s theatres:
There is nothing in the business plan for Worthing Theatres indicating that one of the venues may close this year.
The Council is of course disappointed by the overspend in the budget and are putting measures in place to limit the possibility of such overspends occurring again. Over the past year, we have invested substantially in our Theatres to improve the cultural offering in the town and demonstrate a firm commitment to the value of culture to our community and economy.
In addition to the physical investments in the fabric of the venues, the programming offer has evolved significantly with ‘top names’ such as Dawn French, Russell Howard and Jimmy Carr coming to the town, in addition to the established family favourites.
The net result of this strategic investment is that in under six months, the Theatres have already achieved over 60% of their ticket sales for the whole of 2013 – and this is without opening the Christmas season which, traditionally, makes a significant contribution (around 30%) to the year’s overall ticket revenues.
Staffing restructures and other cost centres have also been refined to improve the economic prosperity of the venues to Worthing.
In short, we expect to meet our Theatres budget in 2015 without closing any venues.
Scott Marshall, Director for the Economy says: “Culture has a dramatic impact on a town’s economy. In addition to bringing revenue into local businesses, 24% of our theatres’ audience is from outside Adur and Worthing, further boosting the positive economic value of culture. Our venues have had a challenging year but it has laid the foundations for future growth and I am optimistic that we will develop a high-quality cultural offer which will represent economic value for council tax payers.”