Weymouth's 'most sucessful' pantomine in years proves pavilion can be profitable (From Thisisdorset)
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Weymouth's 'most sucessful' pantomine in years proves pavilion can be profitable
WEYMOUTH’S ‘most successful’ pantomime in recent years proves the Pavilion can be profitable, supporters have said.
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, which is set to pull the plug on the venue, made £10,234.33 from Christmas production Jack and the Beanstalk.
After a 33-show stint in the town with ‘brilliant feedback’, panto producer Jamie Alexander Wilson is speaking out against the decision to bulldoze the 60-year-old building.
At a Weymouth and Portland Borough Council management committee meeting on December 4, councillors said the venue would close next year unless a viable rescue scheme was put forward.
Since then, a community support package has been gaining support and the group claims it could save the Pavilion.
Mr Alexander Wilson, pictured below, said: “It’s interesting at a time when the council is suggesting the Pavilion’s not viable.
“It just proves that in the right hands, it can work and be very successful. With the right producers and the right shows, it can attract the right audience.”
He said production company MBE had planned to put on Aladdin for Christmas 2013, but now it’s up in the air. He said: “We’ve proved it’s possible for the Pavilion to be a success and next year we were hoping to do the same.
“The pantomime is a big change to what people are used to but we’ve had a lot of brilliant reviews. The most frustrating thing is that it’s been a great year and we’ve got this question of the viability of the venue.”
Figures show 37 percent of tickets to the show, which starred former X Factor contestant Andy Abraham and Home and Away’s Lynne McGranger, were sold over-all.
Each of the 33 performances had a capacity for an audience of 1,002. A total of 12,225 tickets were sold across the 33 performances, meaning 37 percent of tickets were sold altogether.
A council spoke-sman confirmed Jack and the Beanstalk has been the Pavilion’s most successful pantomime in recent years.
Councillor Ian Bruce, brief holder for tourism and culture, said: “The borough council is very pleased with the success of this year’s pantomime.
“The Pantomime sold 37 per cent of tickets (12,225 tickets) over 33 shows across December and January. Once all costs had been taken into account, the council made a total net profit of £10,234.33.”
Campaigners are busy putting together a formal business plan for the take-over of the Pavilion. The Save the Pavilion proposal, which is fronted by Phil Say and Louise Domoney, will suggest using the theatre for ‘higher profile events’ such as touring West End musicals and up-to-date comedians.
Cathy Page-Nash, chairman of the Friends of the Pavilion, said she agreed that in the rights hands the Pavilion could flourish. She added: “I am absolutely thrilled. That’s what we want- for people to behind the Pavilion. Let’s just hope we win.”
Pavilion must be saved says star
Andy Abraham, who played King Crumble in the festive show, said it was vital theatres like the Pavilion were kept open.
He said: “I don’t understand when they say: ‘it’s because of the money’ because they throw so much of it away. A lot of local kids and drama societies need somewhere like this, which is professionally run, where they can perform their shows and their families and friends can come and see them on stage.
“How will Weymouth have stars of the future if they have nowhere to perform?”
He added: “The town should definitely keep the Pavilion open and support it. It is in a lovely location and keeping it open would be something really positive for the community.”