Southern strikes impact on visitor numbers at pavilion

Fiona Banners new installation Buoys Boys flying from the De La Warr Pavilion. SUS-160925-080547001
Fiona Banners new installation Buoys Boys flying from the De La Warr Pavilion. SUS-160925-080547001

Repeated rail strikes on the Southern network have contributed to a drop in visitors to one of the region’s top arts venues, according to a recent report.

An annual report presented to Rother District Council earlier this month revealed the De La Warr Pavilion had seen a drop in visitor numbers during the 2016/2017 financial year, which it blamed on the strikes.

The report, written by director and CEO of the DLWP Stewart Drew, said the venue welcomed more than 410,000 visitors during the year, a drop of four per cent on the previous year, as a result of the ongoing industrial action.

The report said: “Ongoing industrial action and other major rail disruption over the last year have made a significant impact on the organisation.

“Live ticket sales are down by around 25 per cent, with associated income targets affected.

“Commercial income is also down.

“Visitor growth has stalled with visitor numbers down five per cent on the previous year and 10 per cent plus on forecasted growth.

“Venue and area perceptions continue to be badly affected.”

As part of the De La Warr’s business plan, it aims to grow its visitor numbers to 600,000 a year by 2021.

A new capital project is in development to help the venue reach its goal.

Other key figures in the report show that in 2016/2017 the DLWP sold a total of 39,200 tickets to 71 performances in the auditorium.

The DLWP delivered 48 of its own productions.

In total 15 performances sold out, including Divine Comedy, Henning Wehn, and Jimmy Carr.

More than 6,000 tickets were sold for community and schools productions and events.

The pavilion attracted more than £100,000 of additional income, through fundraising activity.