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Maltings publishes Annual Report & Accounts, 2009/10

Fri 29 Oct

The Maltings Theatre celebrates 82% increase in turnover

Doubling the programme of events and a radical building makeover has helped The Maltings Theatre & Cinema in Berwick-upon-Tweed to achieve a record year’s trading, with non-funded income increasing by 82% since October 2008.

Download a copy of The Maltings Theatre & Cinema Annual Report & Accounts here

The theatre’s recently released annual report attributes this increase to a sharp growth in ticket sales, bar sales, and ancillary income such as conference hires and confectionery sales.

In 2009/10, The Maltings doubled the number of live shows and films it presented, and is now on the road to becoming the North-east’s leading independent cinema, screening over 200 different film titles each year.

Ticket sales are up by 33% on the previous year, and the theatre now attracts over 100,000 visitors annually.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mr Maurice Ward said, “Two years ago the Board took the decision to invest in the future of The Maltings by renovating the building and reinvigorating our programme of shows and events.

"We recognised that this involved some financial risk but it was essential if we were to offer the people of Berwick a thriving and stimulating arts centre.”

Mr Ward said that the change in the theatre’s fortunes would not have been possible without the full commitment of the staff and the “vision, skills, knowledge and experience” of the theatre’s CEO & artistic director, Dr Miles Gregory.

“As you will see from this report, excellent progress has been made on all fronts and The Maltings is becoming an important part of Berwick life for many people as it increasingly attracts audiences from outlying areas as well as locally.”

The theatre’s non-funded income has soared from £239,689 last year to £361,274 in 2009/10, while public subsidy increased by just £1,164 in the same period.

As a result, public subsidy as a proportion of turnover has fallen from 43% to just over 30% in just one year, and The Maltings is planning to reduce this proportion further as non-funded income increases and public subsidy is cut.

This increase in non-funded income has brought the theatre back to a breakeven position in 2009/10 from an annual operating deficit of nearly £50,000 in the previous year.

“We’ve achieved this remarkable turnaround against a backdrop of recession and economic gloom,” said Dr Gregory,

“It's a great story – of courage, hard work, vision and determination – and it's one that should make our community proud.”

But local residents are concerned that cuts planned by local government and Arts Council England may threaten the future success of the theatre. Nearly 1,000 people have joined the Facebook group ‘Save Northumberland’s Theatres’, which is campaigning against the theatre cuts in the region.

Dr Gregory recognizes the negative impact cuts may make in the future, but notes that the theatre has experienced cuts in funding for a number of years.

“While our performance as an organisation has never been better, the total level of public funding we receive has fallen by 21% in two years, and is likely to fall further.

"So far, our improved performance has absorbed this serious cut in funding, and we remain at a break-even position.

"But it is critical that our funders, patrons, friends and the community at large support us as we work towards greater self-sufficiency.”

Dr Gregory adds that the staff team have “worked incredibly hard” to move the theatre forward. He also expresses the organisation’s determination to “do whatever it takes to ensure that The Maltings continues to make a valuable positive contribution to the cultural, social and economic life of our community.”

“It's not all about money,” he adds, “even though it is important that we work hard towards greater self-sufficiency. Our theatre is where we gather to laugh; to cry; to escape one world and see another; to meet new friends; to learn; to celebrate; and to experience the transformative magic of the arts. The Maltings is at the heart of our community.”

In the report, which can be downloaded from The Maltings website - www.maltingsberwick.co.uk, Dr Gregory also outlines a number of specific objectives for 2010/11.

These include to increase further the amount of film programming, to refurbish the Henry Travers Studio, to work with the National Theatre of Scotland in Berwick, and to grow turnover by a further 5% .

Ends

For further information contact:
Tamiko Mackie on 01289 330661 x 3 / tamiko.mackie[at]maltingsberwick.co.uk
Full information on The Maltings Theatre & Cinema: maltingsberwick.co.uk
Download a copy of the annual report & accounts: http://www.maltingsberwick.co.uk/annual-report


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The Maltings is operated by The Maltings (Berwick) Trust Registered Charity No: 701194