Local Theatre is Suffering
Amateur performances of plays, musicals and operettas have been a staple for local communities across the country for hundreds of years. Amateur theatre develops a sense of community, it can produce the professional stars of tomorrow, and helps to support local economies… but since the pandemic it is suffering, badly.
A brief insight to CTC
CTC have been staging shows locally for more than 50 years. During our history we have performed at Christchurch Methodist Church and Hind Leys College in Shepshed, Barry Young’s Stardust Theatre in Bardon, and of course Loughborough Town Hall.
As a society we have staged over 100 shows, countless concerts and have entertained thousands of people across our community, we have always been hugely thankful to the local audiences who have supported us in all we have done.
Over our 52 years, audiences have supported us when we have performed well known musicals such as The Sound of Music, Blood Brothers, and Jesus Christ Superstar, and lesser-known titles such as Jekyll and Hyde, Rent and The Witches of Eastwick.
Hundreds of members have been involved with the society both on stage and off, with a number of these talented locals moving on to work professionally within the theatre industry.
In March 2020 the country went into lockdown in response to the recent pandemic, and as a result we had to cancel our production of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago. We finally had the privilege to perform together again in January 2022 in our production of Shrek the Musical, but due to the emergence of the Omicron variant, and the need for self-isolation, ticket sales were not as high as we were used to.
Following Shrek, we began rehearsals for our May 2022 production, a lavish production of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the threat of low-ticket sales has never been this worrying.
As a local amateur theatre company, we receive no external funding, we rely solely on membership fees and ticket sales to finance our productions, and what many of our audience members don’t realise is that we don’t receive every penny from each ticket sold.
When staging a show, local amateur theatre groups must pay a license fee, this tends to be around 16% of every ticket sold. This is on top of the £1.25 per ticket that is paid to the venue as a booking fee. So, for each £20 ticket sold, CTC only receive £15.55.
Over the past ten years we have seen production costs rise considerably. Every aspect of a production comes at a cost, including costumes, wigs, make up, scenery, props, lighting, sound, orchestra, publicity, advertising, rehearsal space and performance venues, and in all areas the prices have increased. People may be surprised to learn that our last production, Shrek the Musical, cost a staggering £47,326 to stage. This means that audience support, and ticket sales, is the difference between us breaking even and being able to carry on producing high quality productions or making a significant financial loss which makes the society unsustainable.
A recent feature on BBC East Midlands told of Leicester Operatic Players uncertainty over their future due to a lack of ticket sales, and here at CTC we share their worries and find ourselves in a similar situation.
Can you help?
As a society we realise that we are going through unprecedented times, with rising living costs, and the pandemic still affecting many. We also understand that The Hunchback of Notre Dame is not a particularly well-known title for a musical, but we would urge anyone who has an interest in theatre and supporting local groups to put their faith in us and, if they can, purchase a ticket to what is going to be a breath-taking theatrical event.
We have a assembled a fantastic cast of CTC regulars who will be performing alongside an incredible choir made of 16 local performers and a stunning 15-piece orchestra. With music and lyrics by two giants of musical theatre, Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, Sister Act) and Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, The Prince of Egypt, Pippin), this show features a score bound to impress. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a timeless classic, a story of love and hope that we know our audiences will be wowed by.
CTC have been a stable part of the local community for the past 52 years and we hope to continue staging productions for the community for the next 52 years, but without audience support our future looks very uncertain.
Thank you reading.