Massive rise in audience tally

Cleckheaton town hall
Cleckheaton town hall

AUDIENCE numbers are soaring at entertainment venues in Kirklees.

Town halls, theatres and festivals have all chalked up an increase in visitors.

In all, more than 127,000 people went to various peformances in the last financial year – around 13,000 up on previous figures.

Town halls – including Batley, Cleckheaton and Dewsbury – saw audiences rise from 38,148 attendances to 42,699, an increase of 11.7 per cent.

Orchestral concerts at Dewsbury town hall, in particular, went down well with a nine per cent increase in visitor numbers.

The lunchtime organ concerts at both Dewsbury and Huddersfield town halls drew more than 13,000 music-lovers.

Kirklees Council cabinet member Coun Jean Calvert said: “It’s great news that our audience figures for the concert season continue to grow.

“With nearly 40 concerts to look forward to at Dewsbury and Huddersfield in 2012/13, we conitnue to offer a range of quality music to suit all tastes.”

Richard Batterby, audience and business development officer at Kirklees town halls, said: “We are delighted with the audience figures. We have been working hard to attract high quality natioal artists to perform at our town halls, while also ensuring we support local orchestras, choirs, drama and dance groups.”

Elsewhere, the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield saw attendances go up from 54,855 to 61,126. Its Christmas production in particular triggered a 33.9 per cent audience increase.

The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival also did well.

Average audiences per event went up by 7.2 per cent with discounted tickets to 17- to 25-year-olds rising by 12 per cent. In all, the November festival reached more than 10,000 people.

Graham McKenzie, the festival’s chief executive, said: “Even in difficult conditions, the festival has continued to innovate in presenting and funding new music from the UK and around the world. We have increased the festival’s international standing and reputation which can only be good for the whole district.”