A POPULAR Penzance theatre which was forced to close in 2010 due to a funding shortage is “definitely back on the Cornish arts scene”.
The Acorn Theatre in Parade Street has announced a significant increase in attendance and income in 2013 after reopening in September 2011.
Compared to the previous year, audience figures were up by more than 19 per cent and income generated from events by 20 per cent.
In addition, the number of shows that sold out completely were also up by more than 30 per cent.
More than 100 public performances were staged over the year covering a varied programme including 37 music events and 30 theatre performances as well as children’s events, comedy nights, literary evenings, cabaret, dance shows and performance art.
The theatre also hosted 111 class sessions in art, drama and circus skills, plus a variety of rehearsals, workshops, private parties and other activities.
Robin Tatam, who became the new chair of The Acorn in December, said: “The success of The Acorn shows what can be achieved by a small, dedicated team of volunteers.
“Since re-opening, we’ve had to cut our cloth very tightly and, with only one paid member of staff and some freelance help, we rely hugely on the time and skill given by our volunteers to staff and manage the building.
“We are very grateful to receive a small grant from Cornwall Council which enables us to employ a part time administrator, but otherwise, we are wholly dependant on the money we earn to keep going.
“There’s a lot more work ahead to make The Acorn sustainable for the future, but the support we receive from our volunteers and our local audiences, many of whom have been loyal visitors to the theatre over many years, is our greatest asset – without them, we couldn’t survive, and Penzance would lose a fantastic venue.
“The message we take from last year however is that The Acorn is most definitely back on the Cornish arts scene.”
The theatre’s success is likely to be maintained as the Acorn programme for 2014 already includes national and international names such as comedian Tony Hawks, performance poet John Cooper Clarke, Dutch progressive rock group Focus and Bristol-born singer-songwriter George Ezra, hotly tipped by the BBC Sounds of 2014 as one of music’s rising stars.
To find out more about what is happening at The Acorn, visit www.theacornpenzance.com or www.facebook/acornpenzance.
Tickets for most Acorn events are available from www.crbo.co.uk, call 01726 879500 or in person from The Acorn Box Office, Parade St; Welcome to West Cornwall, next to Penzance train station; or The Visitor Information Centre, Guildhall, Street-an-Pol, St Ives.