Figures show theatre’s trust is doing a good job in Lowestoft

Martin Halliday inside the newly decorated Marina Theatre.

Martin Halliday inside the newly decorated Marina Theatre. - Credit: Archant © 2012

The charitable body set up to run Lowestoft's Marina Theatre has been given a seal of approval by the council which used to run the Edwardian building.

Since December 2011 the Marina Theatre Trust has been running the 130-year-old building as a not-for- profit charitable organisation on behalf of Waveney District Council.

The trust was formed after shows were axed at the theatre in 2009 and fears were then voiced about the Marina's future as a full-time theatre.

But in a sign of how the trust is forging ahead with its plans to make the Marina a top venue for the region, an annual report on the theatre will be discussed by Waveney's overview and scrutiny committee tonight.

The report says between December 2011 and July, 123,832 people attended 727 shows and events, such as the musical Dreamboats and Petticoats, the band Mumford and Sons and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

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And the report says that the Marina Theatre Trust is on course to achieve a small profit by the end of year, has 'developed and delivered a number of projects over and above the partnerships's proposed targets' and had made 'substantial improvements' to the site.

Improvements include a £250,000 refurbished auditorium which was supported by a £140,000 capital investment by the council, a new £150,000 digital cinema system, community and education spaces and ground floor catering.

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The report adds: 'The trust has currently delivered 727 performances which is 85pc of the three year target.

'This evidences that although there are currently economic challenges within the industry, the trust still manages to attract a diverse range of products to ensure the programme meets the needs of the council's communities.

'Attendance figures for the period December 1, 2011, to July 31, 2013, show that 123,832 people attended the theatre during this period. These figures are particularly pleasing, considering the theatre was closed for two months of refurbishment.'

Martin Halliday, chief executive of the Marina Theatre Trust, said: 'The trust has achieved a great deal since its formation in 2011 including the creation of a new café and gallery, substantial refurbishment of the auditorium and significant investment and upgrade to the cinema.

'The venue's extensive programme of live entertainment has been maintained and indeed expanded with audiences continuing to rise.

'However the board and management team are not complacent and are fully aware that a great deal is still to be done to improve the fabric of the building and in attracting future theatre-goers.

'Although we continue to enjoy enormous support from the local community and theatre industry, for us to continue providing such a diverse programme, we need to continue our audience development initiatives and build on our links within the business community.

'Over the coming months we have a great programme including a tenth year of association with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, top films and live events on our big screen and our pantomime, Cinderella.'

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