Chichester Festival Theatre's ticket sales yet to reach pre-Covid levels

Income from ticket sales at Chichester’s Festival Theatre increased almost tenfold in 2021/22 but was still less than half that of pre-Covid days.
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The information was shared in a monitoring report presented to a meeting of the district council’s overview and scrutiny committee on Tuesday (November 15).

It showed that ticket income increased from £437,231 in 2020/21 to £4,097,802 in 2021/22 – still significantly lower than the £9,191,177 in 2019/20.

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A statement from executive director Kathy Bourne said: “When preparing this report annually in October, it is always fascinating to be able to reflect on the previous financial year and consider how we have moved forward.

SR2004272 Chichester Pallant House Gallery Pic Steve Robards SR2004272 Chichester Pallant House Gallery Pic Steve Robards
SR2004272 Chichester Pallant House Gallery Pic Steve Robards

“Never has this felt so stark than over the past two years, as we review and reflect on years so significantly impacted by Covid.

“We look back with pride at the scale and scope of what has been achieved and, despite the circumstances, many positives were delivered.”

Those highlights have included the Carnival of Lights and working with the council on the Culture Spark festival.

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She added: “It is with some relief that I write in the closing weeks of our first full and uninterrupted Festival season since 2019, and yet we know that there will continue to be challenges ahead given the cost-of-living crisis and the financial impact on our communities, audiences, industry peers and staff, alongside the on-going impact and fall-out of Covid-19.”

It was a different story for the Pallant House Gallery, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

Its monitoring report showed that income for 2021/22 was only £6,000 short of the 2019/20 total – after understandably plummeting during the height of the pandemic.

In 2021/22, a total of 39,933 tickets were sold, generating £260,205, with the 38,117 tickets sold in 2019/20 bringing in £266,898.

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But the average ticket price before the pandemic was higher.

During 2020/21, only 15,297 tickets were sold, generating £105,193.

In a report to the committee, director Simon Martin said: “Despite the challenges of the last two years – and those that lie ahead – we are a resilient and relevant organisation and able to demonstrate our public benefit and worth.”