Revenue at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia climbed over 30 per cent this summer.
That’s left the local theatre $73,249 to the good – money which will be put into reserves to improve the VPP in the future.
Richard Poore, director of cultural services, in a report to council says the theatre generated $1,472,443 in revenue in the 2015 summer season. It spent $1,399,194 to put on the shows – an increase of about $257,000 or 22 per cent.
Ticket sales were very strong with 84.4 per cent of the available seats sold during the summer including a near sell-out of the popular Church Basement Ladies and the selling out of the first week of I Love A Piano. In all, 31,717 tickets were sold.
Most of the patrons – 64 per cent – came from outside of Lambton County and that means they’ve spent money in the community.
“About $3.8 million economic impact – that what we’re having right now at VPP,” says Poore. He estimates most of that money stays in Lambton County.
Sixteen per cent of the audience comes from Sarnia while 12 per cent identifies from Lambton County.
Eight per cent of the patrons are from Petrolia – meaning about half of the town went to see a show at the VPP.
“I would like to see us build on the eight per cent from the people of Petrolia – that’s not that much,” says Mayor John McCharles.
“We’ve been at eight per cent for a long time but of course the numbers are larger because more people are coming,” he says.
But McCharles says it is the same story in any community with locals not realizing the significance of their own history. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin (in Dresden) is populated by people outside the area and the same with the Oil Museum – I would say the majority of the people have not seen the Oil Museum and that’s rather sad that it is here and we don’t take advantage of it.
“I don’t know how we build on that…hopefully when the people of Petrolia get out and see the wonderful performances we do have here it will help…. A lot of people in the Town of Petrolia are missing something they don’t know we have.”