The Queen’s recent Annual Review revealed the theatre makes a £2.3 million contribution to the Havering economy – besides being an integral part of the borough’s social life.
Held in the auditorium on 9 December, the meeting gave an insight into the workings of the Theatre, with presentations from Administrative Director Thom Stanbury and Havering Theatre Trust’s Chairman, Dennis Roycroft, who summarised financial activity for the year 2013/14.
The meeting revealed the Queen’s generated an enormous £2.3m worth of economic activity in Havering during this period. This included business through ticket sales, pre-show meals and drinks in Hornchurch restaurants as well as car parking charges to name a few. Crucially, because the Queen’s is a hugely active producing theatre, which staged and created sets and costumes for 12 productions last year, this figure included ongoing trade with countless local businesses.
One of the most striking facts is that, of this overall sum, £420,000 is new money brought into Havering by audiences from outside the borough.
In light of the London Borough of Havering’s plans to cut 40% of its grant to the Queen’s, which is a registered charity, Mr Stanbury informed audiences the theatre provided an excellent return for this investment – £4.60 of business generated for every £1 spent.
The Queen’s also receives an annual grant from the Arts Council of £275,000, but Mr Stanbury pointed out this amount was more than offset by the Theatre’s contributions in tax, national insurance and VAT – totalling £453,000.
Mr Stanbury and Mr Roycroft emphasised how the Theatre is a vital and vibrant part of the social lives of so many in Havering and beyond – over 2013/14, more than 126,000 people enjoyed 533 shows and events at the Queen’s. The theatre also provides excellent value for money, with average ticket prices costing just £11 compared to the national average of £23.
Education Manager Patrick O’Sullivan gave a presentation about the Queen’s wide-reaching education and outreach programme, which offers subsidised events and workshops, and worked with more than 12,000 community members of all ages last year – from babies to older people. Audiences were also entertained by performances from hugely talented members of the Queen’s Youth Theatre and Nurse Nellie, the Dame in the current pantomime Sleeping Beauty, played by Simon Jessop, a long-standing member of cut to the chase…, the Queen’s award-winning permanent professional company of actor-musicians.
Mr Stanbury said: “As well as being a very efficient way to bring great art in front of great audiences, and supporting community cohesion, children and young people, older people, the Queen’s Theatre – and our audience – is making a direct contribution to the health of the local economy.”
The Queen’s is urging supporters to write to their councillors and MPs and take part in Havering Council’s public online consultation –www.havering.gov.uk/Pages/Services/Haverings-budget.aspx – which closes on 29 December, to express their support for the theatre and protest against the proposed cuts.