By David F. Rooney
With six months under its belt, the Performing Arts Centre is a critical success but needs an injection of about $25,000 to help cover its operating costs, says Miriam Manley, its part-time manager.
“Revelstoke Arts Council was able to employ a part-time theatre manager, on a one-year contract, to run the facility with funds provided by the Columbia Basin Trust and School District 19,” she told City Council last Tuesday. “The first six months since opening have seen the development of operations procedures (click here to read her full report to Council), programming, marketing and business plans.
“The aim for the future is to develop the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre into a presenting venue with an ever-evolving program of high-quality cultural events, while at the same time marketing the RPAC as a rental facility offering a range of services including HD projection, catering services, sound and lighting expertise, marketing, box office and front-of-house support.”
The main challenge is a financial one.
The RPAC needs about $25,000 in funds to cover its operating costs, which consist of utility costs, the manager’s part-time salary and programming funds.
Since it opened last autumn the centre has been the scene of professional performances by the Kamloops Symphony, Ballet Kelowna, James Keelaghan and Abba Again all presented by the Revelstoke Arts Council. It was also the scene of a Red Sky performance presented by the Centre and a show featuring Romanza- The Three Tenors.
As well, it hosted one international performance of Cambodian dance and several high quality amateur performing arts including a Christmas Concert featuring three local concert bands, a Coffee House featuring one local and one other band, a V-Day celebration, called Revelstoke Rising, and six performances of the Revelstoke Theatre Company’s show It’s On It’s Off.
“We hosted several mountain culture events, making use of the facilities excellent audio visual set up, including two days of the Banff Film Festival, a sold-out presentation and film screening by local ski hero Greg Hill, a one day workshop hosted by the Avalanche Association and the Swatch Freeride World Tour Photo Contest,” Manley said, adding that even the municipal government took advantage of the space to hold a public Town Hall meeting.
Well that sounds great, but what were the audience numbers like?
Manley carefully measured the size of the audiences at each performances. Here’s what they looked like:
- Professional Arts – Six shows, audiences for these events averaged 205 and reached a total of 1,235 people.
- Amateur Arts- Ten shows, audiences varied from 60 people right up to a sold out house at 275, making a total of 1,138 discreet visits.
- Mountain Culture- Four events, audiences for these performances averaged 250 and made up 1130 discreet visits to the theatre.
- Non-Arts Events- One event, turn out for this event was low at around 50. Total discreet visits- 3,553 people.
Between September 2012 and February 2012 approximately 49% of the population of Revelstoke (based on the 2011 census figure of 7,135 residents) attended the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre. Allowing for some being repeat visits, a conservative estimate is that in four months we have successfully managed to reach 40% of Revelstoke residents.
Manley said the centre will host a balanced mix of professional, amateur and mount culture events through the 2013-2014 performance year.
And it will do this on a budget of $82,000. Is that money well spent?
According to the Conference Board of Canada, arts organizations generate $2.70 in revenue for every $1 spent.
That’s a pretty good investment.
Let’s hope that City Council will see the real economic value in supporting the arts in Revelstoke.