Last Updated: Oct 31st, 2017 - 08:36:11


Beacon Theatre Showing Profitable Signs
By LYNDON GERMAN
Oct 31, 2017, 08:34

The Beacon Theatre is roped off marking the red carpet entrance during the Imperium movie premiere.

HOPEWELL – The Beacon Theatre is showing profitable signs, according to a recent presentation made during City Council Tuesday night. As of Oct. 12 of this year the Beacon has incurred a gross income of $658,455 from ticket sales and rental fees while reducing its net losses by nearly 50 percent from last year.
The Beacon has long been dependent on city funds. From 2012 when Council agreed to use more than $4 million in tax credits to revitalize the building to present day. Each year ,City Council sets aside some funds in order to keep the theatre afloat. For example, during a council session in March of 2016, City Council motioned to loan the Beacon $95,000 of which at any time Council could ask for payment, according to minutes recorded by the City Clerk at the time.
Though the Beacon has enlisted the city’s help thus far, current projections has new Beacon LLC Board President and Interim City Manager Charlie Dane hopeful the theatre will approach the black.
From the presentation one can identify major improvements in revenue, amount of shows and quality of acts. When the theatre first operated in 2014, only  27 shows and 45 events occurred. In 2016, 66 shows and 60 events occurred. The Beacon is projected to book 68 shows and 99 events by the end of this year.
Some of those acts and events include: The Temptations, Vanilla Ice, Blue Oyster Cult, wedding receptions, beacon hill church, cultural and wine festivals, film industry rentals and more.
Though the income from 2016 was approximately $50,000 higher, the net loss was $180,966.
While this year the net loss is $97,277. These trends are positive signs to Dane who believes the production company, SLAP Productions, has found a pulse on what works.
While these events are attracting more people and bringin in revenue, they may not alwyas be what all of City Council wants to see.
Several council members have brought up concerns over the lack of performing arts or art enrichment activities at the Beacon.
Mayor Jackie Shornak recalled taking piano classes at the third floor of the theatre when she was a student at the old Carter G. Woodson which was on the grounds that are now City Park. Wanting to provide more community enriching activities is something Dane and the Beacon LLC feel is critical for the future, but funding it is another issue.
Noting their concerns, Dane suggested that council hold discussions while preparing next year’s budget to find that “happy place” of keeping the theatre out of the red and providing more diverse activities at the venue.
“If you want it to be everything you want to be, it may not break even every year. If we just let Laurin (Willis, music promoter for the Beacon) and them do what they’re doing and bring the shows they know will work, I think they’ll break even,” said Dane.

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