The UK’s largest regional theater injected £ 36million into the South West’s economy and generated 324,000 visitors in just one year, according to a new study.
The Arts Council England (ACE) released a report detailing the value of culture in the country’s shopping streets and used the Theater Royal Plymouth (TRP) as a key indicator.
The theater’s own economic impact assessment for 2018 found it had contributed almost £ 36million to the economy of Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall.
An Arts Council England study of the economic impact of all UK theaters in 2012 found that TRP had the third highest impact of all 541 theaters in the UK at the time.
TRP also encourages greater footfall on Main Street by bringing new customers to the area each year. In 2018-19, nearly 324,000 trips to the theater were made to attend shows; about 35% of them were first-time visitors.
ACE also highlighted how the TRP increased civic pride. A willingness to pay (WTP) analysis from the TRP found that Plymouth residents are more proud of their theater compared to the standard for theaters in the UK.
Plymouth residents who had visited the theater were willing to pay 11.1% above average for attendance, while those who had never visited the TRP were willing to pay 10.3% above of the average to financially support the theater.
TRP has also received £ 2.4million from the £ 2billion government culture recovery fund, and the theater has used this support to engage with patrons and bring them back to the theater and its main street.
Adrian Vinken, Managing Director of TRP, said: “This report highlights the huge role cultural venues play for our shopping streets, especially in a post-pandemic climate where attracting crowds and generating spending is going to be key. reconstruction after the last 18 months. .
“As the only ‘number one’ theater auditorium located between Bristol and New York, TRP has a particularly large region to serve with a broad programming mandate.
“As such, it regularly attracts an annual audience of over 360,000 people within a 100-mile radius and its enormous economic impact on its downtown has been recognized for decades. It served to redefine the modern identity of Plymouth, firmly establishing the city as the cultural capital of the far southwest.
ACE, which is about to celebrate its 75th anniversary, said the findings of this report demonstrate the long-term benefits of cultural investment.
High Streets has suffered a colossal blow from the pandemic, but as cultural organizations in the Southwest finally begin to open up and welcome visitors again, it is clear that culture is needed more than ever, believes ACE.
The report, called A High Street Renaissance: How Arts and Culture Bring People and Pride Back to Our Main Streets, is designed to show the value of culture to main streets.
Research shows that 69% of people think having cultural spaces such as theaters, museums, libraries and concert halls on their main street makes their neighborhood a better place to live.
Commissioned by ACE in June 2021, BOP Consulting undertook a rapid review of the evidence on the impact of arts and culture on shopping streets. As part of this research, a new survey was commissioned on the future of shopping streets and the role of culture in this regard.
The report shows that prosperous shopping streets are multifunctional and that the presence of cultural places in shopping streets is the key to the regeneration of shopping streets.
When asked what more they would like to see on their main streets, culture was the most popular response, alongside shops and in front of pubs, bars and restaurants.
The results also show that 62% of adults agree that cultural experiences on Main Street give them a sense of pride in their neighborhood, and that many people want the presence of culture on Main Street to expand, half of adults (50%) wanting to see more cultural experiences where they live.
With a 43.4% year-over-year drop in mainstreet attendance in 2020, the report also gives several examples of how cultural venues can bring visitors back to city centers, villages and towns. cities, thereby helping to support economic growth and prevent the decline of main streets.
The government’s Culture Stimulus Fund has helped support 418 cultural organizations in the South West throughout the lockdown, including the TRP, ensuring these organizations will continue to serve communities and boost their economies as we go out. of the pandemic.
Business Live’s Southwestern business reporter is William Telford. William has over a decade of experience reporting on the business scene in Plymouth and the South West. It is based in Plymouth but covers the entire region.
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Phil Gibby, ACE Regional Director for the South West, said: “The evidence in this report shows the positive effect of creativity and culture on local communities and economies. As the pandemic emerges, cultural organizations will play an essential role in bringing visitors back to our shared spaces and main streets.
“For my part, I can’t wait to visit Plymouth in a few weeks to see Trigger’s highly anticipated The Hatchling, where a dragon will explore the streets of downtown and take to the skies from the Hoe on Sunday night. It’s something to get us out of the house. We are truly grateful for the government’s support for the cultural sector and their unprecedented £ 2bn culture revival fund, and now that we take a moment to reflect on our 75 year history, we will continue to do everything possible to ensure that cultural organizations are well equipped to play this vital role in our national recovery.