My Week: Nica Burns
As figures come out showing that West End theatre is booming, one leading impresario is busy building on her success – while saying farewell to a much loved production
Saturday 30 January 2010
I have a ritual each morning. I check the figures and see how much our shows have taken the night before.
I'm joint owner of Nimax Theatres Ltd and our theatres are running some great productions: Thriller at the Lyric, which is a huge hit; Jerusalem opens next week at the Apollo; The Little Dog Laughed at the Garrick; The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Vaudeville and we're in preparation for Ghosts at the Duchess. It's nice to be in a period where the shows are all doing well. I then fill in my Olivier Awards voting card for the nominations. It takes ages as it's been such a fantastic year in British theatre.
I sit down with my operations manager and look at our major building projects for 2010. The buildings need so much restoring and maintenance and it has to be done around the shows. It's a huge cost but it's been transformed by the restoration levy. One project is to refurbish the inside of the Apollo and improve the ladies' lavatories. Hooray! The rule of theatre is you can never have enough ladies' lavatories.
The figures for 2009 theatre tickets are released. Staggeringly, for the first time, the London theatres box-office revenue topped half a billion pounds. I had predicted that 2009 would see a drop in figures. I've never been so pleased to eat my words. More than 14 million people went to the theatre and in a year when there was a recession. This year has started off well, too. Legally Blonde kicked off the year and we're looking forward to Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to Phantom. I have had a sneak preview and it's absolutely fantastic.
Today is the first preview of Jerusalem at the Apollo. First night is always exciting but also filled with trepidation. The theatre is almost full, which is a rare and lovely thing for first preview. The cast, led by the wonderful Mark Rylance, is terrific and they receive a standing ovation.
Today I am planning for our final performance of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Vaudeville tomorrow night. Closing a show is always a sad thing so I like to turn it into an occasion. There will be a lot of tears as we say goodbye to each other. There will be a real tug at my heart.
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