Low ticket sales could be end of theatre of group

THE people of St Neots are needed to help save a theatre group from extinction. VAMPS, which was formed in the 1960s, says it will be forced to close if ticket sales for the latest production do not improve. Chairman George Kelly told The Hunts Post the

THE people of St Neots are needed to help save a theatre group from extinction.

VAMPS, which was formed in the 1960s, says it will be forced to close if ticket sales for the latest production do not improve.

Chairman George Kelly told The Hunts Post the group usually sells between 900 and 1,000 tickets for a five-day show.

However, so far only 382 people have paid up to see The Adventures of Mr Toad which starts tomorrow (Thursday).


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"At the moment it is all about getting bums on seats," said Mr Kelly. "Our performance at the Priory Centre of The Adventures of Mr Toad has sold less than half the expected number of tickets and unless sales increase dramatically the shows costs will empty the reserves the group has built up over the years and we will have no choice but to close."

The group said it costs about £10,000 for VAMPS to stage a show and takes about 60 people and four months of planning.

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The group is relies on the revue from one production to finance the next - Return to the Forbidden Planet was to be November's performance.

Mr Kelly said: "Everyone feels very depressed. The society is very committed and we have worked really hard to promote our shows but there is only so much we can do. If we can't sell more tickets we are finished and our November show will not take place."

The group is now making a heartfelt plea for people to support what could be their final show

"We want families to come and try the local theatre experience and see what fun it can be. Otherwise, we may not be around this time next year."

The group, which has been in existence for almost 50 years, has seen its audience numbers decline "dramatically" over the past few years. The society has only been able to keep going because of their sell-out performance of the Full Monty in November 2006.

Mr Kelly added: "It seems that the idea of a night out at the local theatre is losing appeal. Maybe people don't see the Priory Centre as a proper theatre and would prefer to go to Cambridge or Peterborough to watch a show.

"We really need the residents of St Neots and surrounding areas to help us."

St Neots deputy mayor Cllr Fiona Birks said the lack of ticket sales could be down to the timing of the show: "This is an awful shame, but I do not think it is the case that people do not want to see local theatre anymore. I believe more tickets would have been sold for The Adventures of Mr Toad if it was on during the school holidays.

The fate of the society is to be decided on Sunday.

INFORMATION: The Adventures of Mr Toad is at the Priory Centre in St Neots from tomorrow (Thursday) to Sunday (April 20) at 7pm with a matinee at 3pm on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday. Tickets cost £10/£8 or a family ticket is £32 from 01480 388922.

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