Wednesday 7 December 2016

Theatre hits €1m profit thanks to top musicals

Gordon Deegan

Published 21/10/2016 | 02:30

Danielle Hope in the iconic role of Maria von Trapp, with Steve Houghton as Captain von Trapp and ‘The Sound of Music’ cast members, outside the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. The musical helped boost the theatre’s operating profits
Danielle Hope in the iconic role of Maria von Trapp, with Steve Houghton as Captain von Trapp and ‘The Sound of Music’ cast members, outside the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. The musical helped boost the theatre’s operating profits

The staging of 'The Sound of Music' and 'Mary Poppins' were some of the audience hits to help the new owners of the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre to record operating profits of over €1m last year.

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In 2014, Dublin couple John and Bernie Gallagher of Jurys Doyle fame bought the theatre for €28m - outbidding a number of other investors including Live Nation and Denis Desmond's MCD for the landmark Dublin venue on Dublin's south Docks.

The theatre, which was built by Harry Crosbie, originally had an €80m price tag on it, and was sold by receivers to Crownway Entertainment.

The 2,111 capacity venue has entertained hundreds of thousands of theatre-goers over the past couple of years under the new ownership, with 'Billy Elliott' and Josh Groban big crowd pullers.

The Live Nation-managed theatre first opened in 2010 and since then has entertained half a million people every year.

New accounts for the Gallagher-controlled Crownway Entertainment Ltd show that the firm recorded operating profits of €1m last year.

The accounts show that accumulated losses at Crownway last year increased by €460,158 to €920,653.

However, after combined non-cash depreciation and amortisation costs of €1m are taken into account, along with interest payments of €500,000, they confirm the €1.04m operating profit.

Reflecting a buoyant year for the business led by General Manager, Stephen Faloon, the firm's cash pile last year increased elevenfold going from €176,335 to €2m.

The company's shareholder funds at the end of last year totalled €11.72m due mainly to a 'capital contribution reserve' of €12m.

Numbers directly employed by the company totalled 32 with staff costs totalling €1.39m. The accounts show that the number of employees includes 24 in administration and eight bar supervisors.

At the end of December last, the firm owed €68,229 in corporation tax.

The venue recorded revenues of €7m in the 11 months to the end of November 2014 but no revenue figures are provided for last year.

Upcoming shows at the theatre include 'The Nutcracker, 'Swan Lake', 'La Bohéme' along with 'Sister Act' and 'The Commitments'.

The naming rights for the theatre will shortly be up for grabs again after Bord Gáis announced a €4.5 million rebranding of the theatre in 2011 as the Bord Gáis Energy theatre in a six-and-a-half year deal.

Renowned architect Daniel Libeskind designed the theatre, which has seven bars, a rooftop terrace and a full orchestra pit. The theatre has had a major impact in drawing people to Dublin's Grand Canal Square.

In a press interview last year, Mr Faloon said: "In our first year we took in half-a-million people, and they were people from all over the country, as well as Dubliners who had never been to the area."

He said: "Now you get people coming down to the bars and restaurants and there's a great atmosphere. On balmy summer evenings you could be in Copenhagen or Barcelona."

Irish Independent

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