Almost £1 million was generated by ticket sales at Perth Concert Hall this winter, despite the venue only welcoming two capacity crowds.
Under-fire Horsecross hosted 89 shows at the venue between October 2018 and March 2019, and over 50,000 tickets were sold generating £988,528.55.
This comes despite the fact that the Gannochy Auditorium only hit its 1,600 capacity on two occasions.
Swedish folk-pop stars First Aid Kit generated over £45,000 in ticket sales at their sold out show on October 27, and The Proclaimers just passed the £50k mark a month later.
These shows individually pulled in roughly the same amount of money as the whole month of January did.
For the financial year ending in March 2019, an increased number of performances in across Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall resulted in 25% more tickets being sold and 20% more customers through the doors – of whom over 40% were new bookers.
The charity’s updated website, which launched in February 2018, saw yearly web visits rise by 34% with online ticket sales up by 41%.
Arm’s length organisation Horsecross, which employs around 150 people, was put in the hot seat at a Perth and Kinross Council scrutiny committee meeting last month following repeated allegations of “serious financial mismanagement.”
The charity’s board was slammed for failing to draw in significant audiences from outside Perth and Kinross, focusing on older demographics and not making the most of the council’s flagship Winter Festival.
Now, the team has been given a year to turn things around before drastic changes are made.
Horsecross’ interim chief executive Mike Griffiths said: “The board and interim chief executive have already introduced a range of savings aimed at securing the long-term future of the organisation.
“While these, inevitably, will have some impact on the programmes of both the concert hall and the theatre, we are confident that they will continue to be at the forefront of the cultural offer in Perth and Kinross.
“This has been a year of noted achievement for Horsecross Arts with a combination of popular performances, an expanded community arts programme and improved customer booking processes as well as a spectacular reopening year for Perth Theatre contributing to another successful year for the two venues.”
Perthshire-based MSP Alexander Stewart, who site on the Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs committee, said: “I understand that for some time, Horsecross has been under-performing regarding its level of income and I have some anxieties about where that is going and what it could lead to.
“There is certainly no smoke without fire and concerns regarding governance many require to be examined, which I am sure will be by Perth and Kinross Council.
“The recent vote at council for this to occur was the right one and I look forward to seeing an improvement across all facets of the theatre’s business model going forward.”