THE Weymouth Pavilion operator has revealed the venue is on track to break even earlier than expected.
Phil Say took control of the complex in July after Weymouth and Portland Borough Council could no longer afford to run it.
The council agreed to award a 10-year lease for the Pavilion to Mr Say’s Community Interest Company, subject to a number of conditions.
Mr Say said: “It now looks like we’ll get to the break even point earlier than midway through the second year. Things are on track to be better than we hoped.
“I’m confident in taking bookings and we have got bookings until November 2015.”
In 2011, the Echo revealed how the Pavilion cost taxpayers over £1.6million to run between 2009 and 2011. In light of financial pressures, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council considered demolishing the complex.
But Mr Say offered a proposal that left an estimated £500,000 demolition budget untouched and put the complex in the hands of the community.
Six months on from taking over, Mr Say confirmed the Pavilion was still sticking by the ‘something for everyone’ mantra.
He said: “Since Christmas, we’ve probably had 40, maybe even 50 different inquiries for new events from wedding receptions all the way through to dog shows.”
Mr Say confirmed a number of big productions from the West End had also been in touch with the venue but booking the shows in advance at this stage would be a big gamble.
“If you work out the maths on it, we would have to sell tickets in excess of £25 and we’d have to get over 80 per cent capacities to just break even across six shows.
“What’s easier is to supply what people want from shows that are less risky and less of a downside and only have an upside to them.”
Nevertheless, Mr Say confirmed he still intended for the venue to host one night shows and big name comedians.
He said: “I’m confident on the demand. The possible downside is minimal, the possible upside is minimal, but again it attracts footfall.”
Councillor Andy Blackwood, brief holder for community facilities, said: “I’m glad that the Weymouth Pavilion is up on its feet and it’s got regular shows and events back on.
“These are very early days and we hope that the Pavilion continues to provide a wide range of attractive shows and events for the people of Weymouth and Portland.”
TERMS of Phil Say’s Community Interest Company 10-year lease:
A £150,000 repayable loan to the council
A fixed annual contribution from the council of £30,000
The council awards an 80 per cent discretionary rate relief
The CIC meets the costs of car parking permits for staff and volunteers
The council meets liabilities that may arise from any staff issues