Budgeting made easy

PUBLISHED: 14:18 08 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:27 10 September 2010

David Maidstone

Imagine the scene in the boardroom of a fictitious theatre as the sales director gets up to present his forecasts for the year ahead.

Imagine the scene in the boardroom of a fictitious theatre as the sales director gets up to present his forecasts for the year ahead:

“Umm, fellow directors, I have here figures on our sales for the next 12 months and well I can guarantee that we will fill 78.6pc of our seats for every performance thanks to advance bookings. When you combine that with the fact that tourists will account for between 6pc and10pc of the audience at every performance as well, and that we have promotions with local businesses that account for a further 5pc, you will see that I am hopeful of selling out for even the worst play or stand up comedian that we stage in the coming year.”

He sits down to applause with a grin on his face.

Up gets the production director:

“Wow, on the back of that I feel really confident in asking that we consider the pantomime offering we've had recently. Clearly the people that were in last year's show were all very good, but I'm sure you'll agree that we should be attracting real up and coming stars and seasoned comics, so that we can put on a first class all singing and dancing production. Indeed, this is a rare opportunity to make the Premier League of theatres around the country with a show that is truly magnificent, as we make full use of the wonderful facilities and support that we have. All I am asking is that you invest in our future over the summer.”

The third speaker is the newly appointed finance director:

“I am speechless from the remarks just made by my colleague the production director. We have virtually sold out without spending a penny on new productions, we need only a variety of one man performances and low budget shows, coupled with a few touring performances borrowed from the big theatres to keep the customers happy. That way we will still sell the same number of tickets and for a smaller outlay. Indeed, our efforts should be centred more on new merchandise to sell like a new 'I've sat in the same seat for three years T Shirt' or a 'Greatest Ever Pantomime Dames' book. We need to be prudent in our ambition and that means sticking to the tested formula of ex-soap stars and pop singers from the last decade; we can not take the risk of bringing in top young talent, as they will only want a clause that lets them leave if a joke falls flat, or they get ideas that they belong in the West End. I urge you to put any spare money into merchandise sellers in local car parks rather than performers.”

At the back of the room a quiet sigh was heard and a shuffling of papers as the representative of the Friends of the Theatre got up and edged quietly out of the door. He knew he would be there in the audience again next year, but he wondered whether the production director would still be there.

With apologies to the Theatre Royal and other local theatres which clearly are not represented in the fictitious story above. Resemblance to other local entertainment businesses is not intentional.

NCISA have arranged an “Evening With Glenn Roeder” at The Business at Carrow Road on March 17 at 7.30pm. This is open to all Norwich fans and is £2 to non NCISA members”

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