Theatre in Wales

The latest theatre, dance and performance news

WNO rehearsals are hurting our finances, says Millennium Centre     

Management at Wales Millennium Centre is putting pressure on Welsh National Opera to reduce its use of the centre's two stages, warning it will be impossible for the venue to meet its financial targets otherwise.

Chief executive Judith Isherwood told the Welsh Assembly that WNO accounted for 9% of performances in the 1,900-seat Donald Gordon theatre but occupied the space for 30% of the available time owing to rehearsals.

Warning of the "enormous pressures" the centre faces, Isherwood added that the WNO also uses the 250-seat Weston studio theatre "a lot, which limits our ability to market it".

Her message is likely to cause concern in the Welsh governing body. Although she delivered an upbeat financial and artistic report for the first six months of the iconic £106 million centre, Assembly members fear they will be expected to pick up any financial shortfall.

Isherwood added: "The WMC is very heavily weighted to commercial success, much more so than many other venues, which gives me limited space for error. The WNO does make it difficult to achieve some of the business targets. This was a given when I came here."

While the presence of the WNO was "extremely important", Isherwood said the main theatre needed to achieve 70% capacity for its 270 performances a year. While Isherwood failed to say what figures have been achieved overall, she added that the WNO performances managed 97% capacity.

Following Isherwood's presentation, a WNO spokesman said: "We are already using the main stage less than in the contract, and as we get to know the building better, we will be able to see whether we can trim again. But opera as an art demands considerable rehearsal to obtain quality, and we will not cut back on quality."

Senior centre officials have also mentioned a second tactic to improve WNO's return - getting the opera company to stage extra performances. The WNO said an extra autumn performance is scheduled, and if demand keeps up, more could follow.
The Stage  
web site

Wednesday, June 22, 2005back

Other related news stories on the Theatre in Wales web site :



Older news stories have been carefully archived.
2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999


Privacy Policy | Contact Us | ©2013 keith morris / red snapper web designs /