Updated: Aug 1, 2019
A little explanation of how we programme and why it’s really helpful to buy in advance
by intoBodmin Director, Fin Irwin
Many theatre companies we have here have two to four people in them, they are often travelling more than hour to get here, and with time to set up and prepare, plus pack up after, this means that to perform in Bodmin is a full day’s work.
We don’t have a programming budget as we’re pretty much hand-to-mouth and our arts council funding doesn’t cover programming in the Old Library. So, I offer companies a split on Box Office sales. They take usually 70% and we retain 30%. It’s a risk for us both, but I quite like that, it means we both have to work hard and work together to draw audiences. So, for a touring company with four actors, if we sell 30 tickets at an average of £9 each, that’s £270 of which they get £189. Split between them, that’s £47.25 each for a whole day’s work, or around £5.90 per hour. A lot of the companies that we have coming here have their own Arts Council funding, which subsidises this, but it’s not always the case. Bands don’t. So if we have only sold a couple of tickets one week before the show, it’s a big risk for the company to travel all the way here knowing they may not even cover the cost of their fuel.
We are incredibly lucky that there are theatre companies and performers who are excited by a new venue in Cornwall and who are willing to take a risk on us. I tell them that we usually get 30 people – that’s our benchmark - and to be honest, we usually do. And our audiences are always engaging and make for a good night out.
Occasionally, for various reasons, it doesn’t look as if we’ll reach 30 tickets for a show. I hate to cancel performances, but I also hate to see brilliant work being performed to a handful of people. So please consider - if there’s something you like the look of, don’t wait until the day or the day before, because the other 29 people who are coming might be thinking the same, and if we haven’t got the ticket sales four days before the show, we’ll have to cancel it.
Sophie, our Marketing Manager says that when we announce online that we’ve had to cancel or postpone a show, we usually get people saying ‘Oh no! I was planning to come to that!’ so please don’t wait – if you want to see great shows in this wonderful little venue, please support us by buying your tickets in advance. You can also support us by spreading the word – tell your friends, pick up a flyer or one of our brochures, or share our shows online.