THE future is looking bright for Weymouth Pavilion as the venue gears up for another record-breaking year in 2015.

The pavilion was taken over by the Community Interest Company (CIC) headed by Phil Say in July 2013 and has just experienced one of its busiest ever years.

More than 300,000 visitors passed through the doors in 2014, as the customers lapped up a shows from family-friendly pantomimes to big name acts such as Russell Watson and comedian Omid Djalili.

Now, speaking to the Dorset Echo, Mr Say said next year would be “even better” and the venue’s ongoing success meant he would need to recruit more staff to cope with the surge in demand, which could see a total of 50 staff employed on a full or part-time basis.

Mr Say said: “It’s been a great year, we’ve gone from strength to strength. We had well in excess of 300,000 visitors and have been hugely busy throughout the year.

“It looks set to be even busier in 2015 as well, with some great acts and events booked and we already have two weddings and six Christmas parties booked.

“At the moment we are 25 to 30 per cent up already on the amount of bookings for 2015 than we had at this stage last year for 2014, which was a record breaking year as well.”

It is not just the big acts that have been flocking to the Pavilion, either. More and more local companies are booking the Pavilion’s three function rooms for their events, and the civil ceremony licence granted to the Pavilion has seen numerous couples either tie the knot at the venue, or celebrate there afterwards.

It was also an incredibly busy festive season for the Pavilion, with the return of the Aladdin pantomime plus numerous Christmas parties, with takings up five per cent.

Mr Say said the venue’s success had exceeded everyone’s expectations. He said: “Some of the acts we have booked, such as Russell Watson, Omid Djalili and Jimmy Carr, are fairly big names.

“We have been here 18 months now and we have got a good track record, we have built up a level of trust and a good reputation, and that is paying dividends.

“I think that’s because of our great location for weddings, we have a great variety of shows, and we are also have had extra bookings from local businesses who want to use our function rooms.

“What has surprised us is the extra bookings we have had, which is why we have had to take on extra people to cover that demand”

Julie Storey, events manager at Weymouth Pavilion, praised the staff’s commitment since the CIC took over. She said: “Personally, I have been coming here since I was two, a lot of the other staff have been here before with their families, and we were all very passionate about keeping it open and we were very keen to make it work.

“We have regulars who come into our cafe for a coffee who keep the building busy every day, and it’s great to see.”