BUMPER crowds and world-class artists have led to Portsmouth Guildhall’s most successful year on record.
The city’s premier arts venue saw more than 260,000 people come through its doors between last April and this March.
Top comedian Jack Whitehall was the biggest draw, bringing in 6,000 punters over the course of three nights in January. Pop group Busted and dance act Chase & Status both entertained 2,500 fans for their sell-out shows.
An increase of more than 17,000 used the venue compared with the previous year, with a huge 62 per cent rise in audience numbers since Portsmouth Cultural Trust was formed to take over the entertainment destination back in 2011.
Greg Parry, chairman of the trust, said: ‘We are very pleased that concert goers, visitors, programme participants and those hosting events have come to the Guildhall in dramatically increasing numbers since the trust has been in existence.
‘The trust is dedicated to making the Guildhall a leading focal point for the arts and culture for those in Portsmouth and the wider region.
We are very pleased that concert goers, visitors, programme participants and those hosting events have come to the Guildhall in dramatically increasing numbers since the trust has been in existenceGreg Parry, chairman of Portsmouth Cultural Trust
‘These record results show the value people place on the Guildhall and in its offer.’
In addition to concerts, the venue also saw an increase in numbers at its exhibitions, with 21,000 visitors popping in to marvel at the events, such as the Portsmouth Music Experience – a permanent and free display.
There was also a 27 per cent increase in people getting involved in its ‘Guildhall Participate’ programme.
The programme looks to transform lives by inspiring people through music and culture via workshops and activities.
Not resting on its laurels, the trust is looking to boost the venue even further by playing host to pop star Zara Larsson, legendary rock band The Pretenders and comedian Greg Davies in the next year.
Councillor Linda Symes, the city’s culture boss, said: ‘It is great to see that so many visitors and people have enjoyed visiting the Guildhall to attend concerts, exhibitions and celebrate weddings.
‘I am sure we will continue to see these numbers rise as more people experience the range of events on offer.’