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Leicester’s Curve to increase capacity to boost revenue as annual report reveals turnover decrease

Curve artistic director Nikolai Foster and chief executive Chris Stafford Curve artistic director Nikolai Foster and chief executive Chris Stafford
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Curve in Leicester is to add 67 seats to its main auditorium in a bid to increase revenue, its second expansion since opening 10 years ago.

The move will mean the auditorium is 20% bigger than when it opened 10 years ago, and follows the installation of an extra 99 seats into its auditorium in 2015. This took the capacity from 803 to 902. The new additions, made possible due to a grant from the local council, means the auditorium will now seat 969.

According to chief executive Chris Stafford and artistic director Nikolai Foster, the addition of extra seats will enable the theatre to develop its artistic offering through “increased revenue” and bring in “higher profile national and international touring productions to the city”.

News of the increase comes as the theatre announces its end of year results for 2017/18, with turnover at £10.6 million, down from £11.7 million in the previous year.

However, the venue said its surplus had exceeded budget, which it said resulted in a £200,000 contribution “in line with the 2016/17 results”. It said this would be reinvested in its producing and community work.

In 2017/18, the number of tickets sold was 197,777, down from 247,006 in the previous year. It staged 549 performances, against 649 in 2016/17.

Average ticket price paid was £29.21 in its main theatre, up from £20.28 in the previous year.

According to its latest annual report, attendance was down slightly because of “more dark weeks for technical rehearsals”. Its stages played to an average of 77%, up from 69% in the previous year.

The theatre will work with theatre-seating specialists Charcoalblue to add the additional seats into the stalls in its main theatre.

Curve said its accessibility will also be improved, with five new fixed wheelchair positions added to the stalls and the female toilet facilities “significantly increased”.

Stafford and Foster described 2017/18 as “a terrific year for Curve, with all areas of the theatre firing on all cylinders”.

“Our ambition to create diverse, entertaining and challenging theatre for our communities in the 21st century is always developing; none of this work would be possible without the support of our growing loyal audiences, the dedicated work of the Curve team and our principal funders, Leicester City Council and Arts Council England,” they said.

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