As a retired theatre manager I naturally took the opportunity to log onto the Herald’s website and view the breakdown of Eastbourne Theatres’ box office income and the amounts paid for incoming productions.
Leaving aside artistic and commercial considerations, there do appear to be basic arithmetical errors in the majority of the show reports.
Take the first entry, for instance - a basic contract with an 80/20 per cent split of box office income (net of VAT) in favour of the incoming production.
Net box office income is shown as £51,637.66. Their 20 per cent share should leave the theatre with £10,327.53 but the show report shows that they actually retained £11,718.75 and paid only 77.3 per cent to the production.These differences are repeated in almost all of the reports.There could be logical reasons for this: the contracts might have allowed for agreed ‘contra’ charges for (perhaps) staff overtime, entertainment or a proportion of publicity costs.
But if this were the case then the amounts should surely be credited to those accounts headings and not used to provide artificial inflation for the box office income.The council spokesperson suggests that Professor John Pick has drawn some misleading conclusions from these figures.
I humbly suggest that the figures provided by the council are in themselves misleading and look forward to the spokesman’s explanation.