Cork Opera House has staged another strong financial performance and posted a profit of just over €265,000, its fourth profitable year in a row.
While turnover for the financial year ended March 2016 was down slightly on the previous 12 months — from €5.9m to €5.7m — more people attended shows in the last year, driving the profit increase.
Some 183,298 people attended 276 performances in the 2014-15 period, with a profit of just over €236,000.
Figures presented at the company’s AGM yesterday, for the last financial year, showed more than 192,000 people had attended 267 performances of 130 events, helping to boost profits to €265,787.
The financial performance was attributed to several key events, including two large-scale in-house productions, Singin’ in the Rain
last summer and the Christmas pantomime Beauty and the Beast, which sold out 49 of its 54 shows.
“Over the past number of years, producing two major shows per year has provided Cork Opera House with the opportunity to create both financial and programmatic spikes in our calendar,” said chief executive Eibhlin Gleeson.
“This has proven to be a successful business model for the house and this year is no exception with the pantomime delivering beyond its sales target.”
Damian Wallace, the chairman of the board of directors, said the results showed further consolidation in the finances of the company, which had been on the brink of financial collapse less than five years ago.
“Minimising risk is a high priority and every significant programming decision is tested to ensure that it conforms to our model,” he said.
“We are equally mindful of the need to continually present a programme that appeals to our patrons and includes the headline acts that people want to see and we will at all times ensure that we maintain our tradition of meeting our cultural and artistic remit.”
However, the company still relies heavily on grants: Figures over the last financial year show the company received €250,000 from Cork City Council, €150,000 from the Arts Council — a €15,000 increase on the previous year — and €50,000 from Cork Council Council, €1,250 more than the previous year.
Mr Wallace said financial prudence was essential, and the board and staff are mindful at all times to ensure all decisions reflect this “fundamental priority”.
The annual report also showed that while Cork Opera House’s average monthly staffing figure remained steady at 60, its wage costs had reduced since the last AGM, from €1.3m to just over €1.2m.
The Opera House employs up to 100 people at peak times.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved