London Borough of Bromley by accinent

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									                             London Borough of Bromley
Report No:
PDS09/04-1                           PART 1 - PUBLIC
                                                                          Agenda     XX
                                                                          Item No:


Title:               ANNUAL REVIEW OF THE CHURCHILL THEATRE – 2003/04

Decision Maker:      Leisure & Culture PDS                                Decision Date: 16.9.04
                     Leisure & Culture Portfolio Holder                                  22.9.04

Decision Type:       Non-Urgent            Non-Executive            Non-Key

Budget/Policy        Within Policy & Budget
Framework:

Chief Officer:       Gordon Hayward, Director of Environment & Leisure Services Department

Contact Officer:     Colin Brand, Head of Leisure and Culture
                     Kay Coulton, Client Project Officer
                     Tel: 020 8461 7250               E-mail: colin.brand@bromley.gov.uk
                           020 8461 7539                      kay.coulton@bromley.gov.uk

Ward:                Borough-wide

1.       SUMMARY

1.1      This report provides a summary of the Ambassador Theatre Group’s (ATG) Annual Report
         on the Churchill Theatre for the fourth year of their contract: 1 April 2003 – 31 March 2004.
         The Annual Report is attached at Appendix 1.

2.       RECOMMENDATIONS

2.1      The Performance Development & Scrutiny Committee is asked to note the fourth successful
         year of the Ambassador Theatre Group’s management agreement for the Churchill Theatre,
         Bromley and pass any further comments or recommendations to the Executive member for
         Leisure & Culture.

2.2      The Executive Member is asked to:

         2.2.1   Note any comments received from the Performance Development & Scrutiny
                 Committee.

         2.2.2   Note the fourth successful year of the Ambassador Theatre Group’s management
                 agreement for the Churchill Theatre, Bromley.

3.       COMMENTARY

3.1      In 2003/04 the ATG has continued to build on its diverse and adventurous programming.
         This has attracted new audiences whilst maintaining the standard that appeals to the
         Churchill Theatre’s core audience.     Renewed emphasis was also given to quality
         programming with work produced at, originating at and touring from the Churchill Theatre. In
         addition ATG were proud to welcome companies of great repute to the theatre. The
      development of children and families as audiences has been identified as an area ATG
      wishes to build on.

3.2   The ticket sales successes of the year exemplify the variety of programming to which the
      Churchill’s audience responds positively. The total attendance for the year was 182,900, in
      particular:

         Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs set a record as the highest attended pantomime
          in the Churchill Theatre’s history with an attendance of 41,788 and 89.2% of tickets
          sold over 63 performances.

         The Picture of Dorian Gray, 84 Charring Cross Road and Full Circle all out-
          performed drama productions of recent years.

         Children’s favourite Noddy played to 95% capacity over six performances.

         The ever-popular musicals Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (12
          performances) and The Rocky Horror Show played to 86% and Buddy to 97%.

         All four performances of Spirit of the Dance sold out and following its launch in
          Bromley the previous year Nutcracker! Returned playing to 84%.

         Al Murray – The Pub Landlord played to capacity.

3.3   The overall attendance figure this year is less than the previous year. The 2003/4 season
      included some challenging and less commercial titles which ATG were proud to present.
      This broader programme, including quality drama, will attract a broader cross section of the
      community which will take time to gradually build up higher attendance numbers.

3.4   Five further Churchill Theatre Bromley productions are scheduled until the end of 2004
      including Billy Liar, Magic of the Dance, Boogie Nights II (The Eighties Musical), High
      Society and the award winning West End and Broadway production of Kiss Me Kate.

3.5   Visiting productions scheduled in Spring 2004 include The Play What I Wrote, Grease,
      Tom’s Midnight Garden and Matthew Bourne’s award willing co-production with the
      National Theatre, Play Without Words.

3.6   Since March 2003 all ticket sales have been handled by the ATG London call centre. This
      has resulted in a major improvement in customer service with an average of 95% of calls
      now being answered. Group ticket sales have been moved from London to the Churchill
      Theatre’s Ticket Sales Team establishing a more proactive approach to group bookings and
      improved customer service.

3.7   Other areas of the Theatre’s marketing strategy have also been successfully developed
      including campaign monitoring, direct mail-outs, new booker initiatives, utilisation of new
      media, synergy with local retail outlets, ‘Friends’ membership scheme, corporate
      sponsorship packages, links with the local business community, brochure distribution and
      increase in local and national media coverage.

3.8   A number of refurbishments have been undertaken by theatre staff during ‘dark’ periods. In
      addition a quotation has been sought to refurbish the Function Room as an attractive
      corporate and sponsors’ facility combined with continued use for educational activities.


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      Likewise a quotation has been sought to re-seat the auditorium where the standards of
      comfort are tangibly declining.

3.9   The appointment of the first Chief Executive, Derek Nicholls, was reported on last year
      (Report No: CEM030780). Since then the staffing structure at the Churchill Theatre has
      been reviewed and a number of new positions have been created including those of
      Administrator, Technical Services Manager, Ticket Sales Manager, Marketing & Sales
      Manager and Development Manager. Skills previously provided by the Production
      Assistant, Company Stage Manager, Wardrobe Master and Wardrobe Assistant are now
      bought in as and when required.

3.10 The Theatre’s Education Department continues to offer a wide range of free and paid for
     opportunities to the local community with a wide range of show related activities, in-house
     work and special events during school holidays. These activities have been extremely
     successful and received excellent feedback from participants. An example of the popularity
     of this work was endorsed when the World Book Day event sold out within half an hour.

3.11 During 2003/4 a new Access Committee created by the theatre introduced regular SLIPs
     (Sign Language Interpretation Performances), audio described and captioned performances
     to the season. Staff attended a course on communicating with deaf and hard of hearing
     people and an audit of access training needs for all staff is planned. In addition the theatre
     was successful in securing a grant from Arts Council England to install a new Sennheiser
     infra-red audio system for the hearing impaired and audio-described performances.
     Feedback has been positive. A new lift is to be installed between the Circle Foyer and the
     Circle Bar and a new accessible toilet and shower facilities for performers.

4.    FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

4.1   The management agreement is operating successfully within agreed budgets.




 Non-Applicable Sections:          Policy, Legal and Personnel Implications
 Background Documents:             The Churchill Theatre, Bromley’s Annual Report
 (Access via Contact Officer)      1 April 2003 – 31 March 2004.

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