The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 4 July 2023
Strong Performance - Turnover at Nimax Theatres rose to £31.9m in the year ending October 2022, which marks the first full year of trading figures since the pandemic and a 6.7% increase on 2019. When compared to the previous year, ending October 2021 and including disruption caused by the pandemic, the increase in turnover is 289%.
Nimax Theatres’ venues include the Palace, the Garrick, the Duchess, the Vaudeville, the Apollo and the Lyric theatres in the West End. According to its annual accounts filed this month, turnover to October 2, 2022 was £31.9m. This is up from £29.9m compared with 2019, prior to the pandemic. In the year ending October 2021, turnover was just £8.2m. According to the accounts, profit for the financial period in 2022 was £6.7m
The accounts state that "a major aspect of the strong performance was the successful run of the shows in the year in all the theatres, with five shows playing for the whole of the year, resulting in only three dark weeks". It highlights shows such as The Play that Goes Wrong, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Six, Get Up, Stand Up! and The Drifters Girl as performing "well ahead of expectations in terms of attendances, box office, ticketing revenues and retail spend".
Final Curtain - Wham star Andrew Ridgeley has said he wishes they had taken their final show on the road - 37 years to the day from their farewell gig at Wembley stadium. Decisively titled The Final, it came nearly four years after their first hit, Young Guns, and marked the start of bandmate George Michael's solo career.
But Ridgeley says he wanted the band's farewell to have taken a little longer. "I would have liked to tour The Final to be honest. I felt a final tour to say goodbye to our fans around the world would have been a generous gesture. I felt it was a courtesy to them to have done that. The least we could have done, to be honest with you. But I also understood [George's] essential ideology behind having just one show."
Heartbroken - The manager of a celebrated theatre has said he will be "truly heartbroken" as the curtain comes down at the venue for potentially the final time. Liverpool's Epstein Theatre, on Hanover Street, has closed after financial support from the city council ended. The local authority said it had not renewed a property deal on the theatre due to budget cuts.
Theatre manager Anthony Proctor said his priority was to protect the venue as a theatre. "The closure doesn't mean the conversation will stop," he said. The Grade II listed 380-seat venue first opened as a performance space in 1913. It has been known as Cranes Music Hall, Cranes Theatre and The Neptune Theatre before being renamed in memory of The Beatles manager Brian Epstein. The local authority has financially supported the venue since the 1960s and its most recent expenditure on the Epstein was in excess of £100,000 per year, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
Early Closing - Aspects of Love starring Michael Ball will close on 19 August - three months before it was due to end. The show was meant to play at the Lyric Theatre until 11 November. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical returned with a rejigged plot in Jonathan Kent’s production, which features a design by John Macfarlane. It is produced by Nica Burns, Max Weitzenhoffer, Adam Blanshay Productions and Tegan Summer by arrangement with the Really Useful Group Limited. Ball has been starring in the show since it opened in May.
More Accessible - Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford has been given £3m from Surrey County Council towards the theatre’s plans to make it more accessible. The Play Your Part campaign aims to “transform the theatre into a cultural community hub”. It has been given the financial boost from the council’s Your Fund Surrey, which will fund "vital accessibility and sustainability renovations".
Director and chief executive Joanna Read said: “By making this award, Surrey County Council is recognising the value that the people of Surrey place upon Yvonne Arnaud and its integral role as an arts provider across the county. This funding will help make the theatre accessible, sustainable and fit for purpose, better able to serve Surrey for future generations.”
Golden Oldie - A rare demo CD made by Ed Sheeran when he was at school has sold for £8,000, an auction house has said. The Spinning Man 14-track demo was recorded in the star's bedroom in Framlingham, Suffolk, during late 2004 and early 2005, when he was aged 13. Stacey's Auctioneers, based in Rayleigh, Essex, said there were only 21 copies made, with the singer buying back 19 of them. It was the first lot under the hammer in a specialist music sale.
(Jim Evans)
4 July 2023

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