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Panto season and movie matinees help Spalding’s South Holland Centre enjoy 9% rise in visitors





A theatre is celebrating a 9% increase in visitors… oh yes it is!

Spalding’s South Holland Centre saw an average of 68% of capacity sold for its live performances throughout the 2023/24 programme, it can be revealed.

This marked almost a 10% rise on the previous financial year, while panto season was also up 3% of 2022/23.

The South Holland Centre
The South Holland Centre

Market day movie matinees have also been highlighted as a positive in attracting visitors to the centre, which saw Covid restrictions lifted in July 2021.

A report charting the venue’s fortunes over the past six months and action plan will be discussed at South Holland District Council’s Performance Monitoring Panel on Thursday (April 18).

“Over the past six months the team at the South Holland Centre has continued to develop the offer at the centre and deliver against the centre’s development plan,” the report continued.

The cast of Beauty and the Beast
The cast of Beauty and the Beast

“Attendance at live performances across 23/24 programme was an average of 68% capacity sold, which is a 9% increase on the previous financial year.

“The pantomime season was incredibly successful with Beauty and the Beast selling 10,646 tickets for 39 performances across the run, increasing sales by 3% over the previous financial year.

“The centre is also maximising its midweek opening hours, by introducing lunchtime film screenings on market days, and these will help to boost the Centre’s monthly matinee programme.”

Homegrown talent Zeph Churchill's show Is It Me Or Is It Hot In Here? sold out
Homegrown talent Zeph Churchill's show Is It Me Or Is It Hot In Here? sold out

The report also added that a deal for the neighbouring Red Lion Hotel to run the bar has been extended.

“Following a tender exercise through the PSPS (public sector partnership services) procurement team, the Red Lion secured the catering contract to run the bar over the busy pantomime season, with SHC receiving a percentage of the bar takings,” it continued.

“The partnership has worked well, and the agreement has been extended until March 2025 with an agreement that they will also staff events in the function hall, bring in their own events and work with the team on joint marketing initiatives.”

Jason Curries. Julia Burnett, Craig Fowler, Alan Simmons and Denny, Jason Simmons and Jenny Beake were among the performers at a successful open mic night at the South Holland Centre
Jason Curries. Julia Burnett, Craig Fowler, Alan Simmons and Denny, Jason Simmons and Jenny Beake were among the performers at a successful open mic night at the South Holland Centre

It is also hoped that the marketing of events at the council-run centre will receive some vital improvement, with aims to develop ‘an effective marketing plan’.

“Working with the (council’s) communications team a communications apprentice has been assigned to assist with marketing at the centre, specifically to develop the social media presence,”

“The apprentice has developed a communications plan to build the social media audience over the coming months.

The South Holland Centre
The South Holland Centre

“The SHC website homepage has been refreshed and updated to better highlight upcoming shows as well as other services offered.

“This work was completed at the end of August, and further updates and improvements are scheduled for new financial year.”

Objectives outlined for the centre moving forward are to: increasing ticket sales and developing audiences – improving the overall quality of programming in line with customer tastes and interests; developing an effective marketing plan by ensuring the marketing of the centre is impactful; exploring potential funding opportunities to maximise income; exploring alternative delivery solutions for the operation of the South Holland Centre.

“The South Holland Centre is a key cultural facility that is utilised by all ages,” the report concluded.

“The team are continually working to improve the visitor experience, increase income while running an efficient service, generate new audiences and maintain the loyal customer base the centre has developed.”



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