Forty-thousand come to Petrolia for theatre in 2014


It’s been a very busy year at Victoria Hall.

Richard Poor, director of performing arts for Petrolia says between the professional theatre performances and community performances nearly 40,000 people visited the historic theatre in 2014.

Eighty-two per cent of the professional theatre’s performances were sold this year – high for industry standards. There were two shows which were complete sellouts this year, Church Basement Ladies and Broadway Heroes.

Poore tells The Independent that the vast majority of people coming to Victoria Hall are from out of town – only eight percent of the people attending the VPP were from Petrolia – 65 per cent were from outside of Lambton County.

“We’re drawing people from Windsor, Kingsville, London, Woodstock, Kitchener and the Cambridge area,”  he says about three per cent of the visitors are coming from the United States.

All that is good for tourism, he says. “We estimate the summer season alone generates between $3 and $4 million in economic spinoff.”

In a report to council says in all just under $1.1 million in revenue was collected, with the bulk coming from the VPP, about $75,000 coming from community groups and another $73,000 from corporate sponsorships.

Victoria Hall was used 238 times in 2014 with the majority for professional theatre. Poore adds there were 60 performers employed as well as 89 children participating in the performances at the VPP.

Poore expects 2015 to be just as busy since ticket sales are already strong. “I’m encouraged by it; we really have to attribute the success to the customer service piece, the high quality entertainment, listening to audiences as to what they want and keep a close eye on the bottom line,” he says.

“The quality of the shows is what our audience are reacting to.”