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West Cliff Theatre nearly doubles ticket sales in one year

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West Cliff Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea has seen its ticket sales nearly double since last year after changing its programming policy and increasing its social media and marketing efforts.

The receiving venue, which seats nearly 600 people, says it has sold 25,000 tickets in the past six months compared to 13,000 for the same period last year.

Over the past year it has increased the number of shows it programmes by 25% by adding more weeknight performances, whereas previously it relied solely on weekend theatregoers.

It has also invited a wider range of acts to the venue to attract younger audiences.

Over the past three years, it has updated its website, introduced online booking facilities and improved its social media presence to reach customers in other parts of Essex.

Three years ago the theatre lost its public funding, consisting of an annual grant of around £60,000 from Tendring District Council.

Last year, local volunteers fundraised more than £25,000 towards a total of £200,000 which the theatre has used to purchase lighting and sound equipment, refurbish the foyer and improve the auditorium roof.

Norman Jacobs, chairman of West Cliff Tendring Trust, which runs the theatre, said: “When we lost the grant we thought ‘what’s our future as a theatre?’ I thought that if we carried on as we were we would die – the audiences were falling off and we had mainly amateur shows.

“We decided we needed a change of direction. What turned it round was hiring a new manager, putting in more professional and frequent shows and the publicity and online advertising we have started using.”

He added: “We also took a conscious decision to advertise in newspapers further afield and I think that’s also been a big reason for our increase in customers.”West Cliff Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea has seen its ticket sales nearly double since last year after changing its programming policy and increasing its social media and marketing efforts.

The receiving venue, which seats nearly 600 people, says it has sold 25,000 tickets in the past six months compared to 13,000 for the same period last year.

Over the past year it has increased the number of shows it programmes by 25% by adding more weeknight performances, whereas previously it relied solely on weekend theatregoers.

It has also invited a wider range of acts to the venue to attract younger audiences.

Over the past three years, it has updated its website, introduced online booking facilities and improved its social media presence to reach customers in other parts of Essex.

Three years ago the theatre lost its public funding, consisting of an annual grant of around £60,000 from Tendring District Council.

Last year, local volunteers fundraised more than £25,000 towards a total of £200,000 which the theatre has used to purchase lighting and sound equipment, refurbish the foyer and improve the auditorium roof.

Norman Jacobs, chairman of West Cliff Tendring Trust, which runs the theatre, said: “When we lost the grant we thought ‘what’s our future as a theatre?’ I thought that if we carried on as we were we would die – the audiences were falling off and we had mainly amateur shows.

“We decided we needed a change of direction. What turned it round was hiring a new manager, putting in more professional and frequent shows and the publicity and online advertising we have started using.”

He added: “We also took a conscious decision to advertise in newspapers further afield and I think that’s also been a big reason for our increase in customers.”

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