Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Lessons from Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Anyone thinking of promoting a new theatre to replace Thornbury's Armstrong Hall would be well advised to read about the trials and tribulations of Aylesbury's Waterside Theatre.
Planning permission was granted in 2006 with a budgeted cost of £25million which had risen to £47million by the time of opening in 2010.
The Council appointed Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) to manage the venue with an annual subsidy of £355,000, £1,000 per day raised via council tax from the 56,000 population of the town. ATG was going from strength to strength with profits of £2.3 million in 2009 which rose to £16.3 million in 2011, through the 39 venues it then operated.
In 2016 the Council negotiated a reduction in subsidy to be implemented over 5 years driven principally by their disappointment with the time to grow audiences. 
  1. Expect the budgeted cost of a new venue to double.
  2. Ensure that a sound business case can be produced without the need for subsidy from the public purse.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Whilst delighted with the recognition of Thornbury as the fourth best town to live, I was a little uncertain about the reference to Nirvana so I looked in the Cambridge Encyclopaedia. There it is described as: “… the attainment of supreme bliss, tranquillity, and purity, when the fires of desire are extinguished.” Not quite how I would describe Thornbury but perhaps that’s how outsiders see us?