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Bury St Edmunds Apex hails success as box office sales double and millions brought to economy

PUBLISHED: 16:44 25 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:44 25 June 2018

West End star Kerry Ellis performs at The Apex in Bury Picture: PHIL MORLEY

West End star Kerry Ellis performs at The Apex in Bury Picture: PHIL MORLEY

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Tourism chiefs in Bury St Edmunds have hailed the success of the town’s Apex venue, as new figures reveal it brings millions to the economy.

The Apex in Bury has doubled its box office sales in five years Picture: PHIL MORLEYThe Apex in Bury has doubled its box office sales in five years Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Papers published for the West Suffolk joint executive revealed that the 700-capacity venue has more than doubled its box office sales in the last five years to more than £2million and brings in more than half its audience from outside the town.

The data, published as part of the forward plan for the venue, also suggested it had a net economic impact of £6.6m alone on the town’s economy, or as much as £11.4m based on those already spending in the town.

Nick Wells, programmer at the venue, which opened in 2010, said: “I think the growth has been really rapid. The number of shows we are doing and the number of people coming in has increased quickly over the seven years – everything seems to be going well.”

Mr Wells said the annual council subsidy, which this year was £570,000, has helped establish the venue, but other factors have helped it soar when so many venues nationally are struggling.

Basil Brush and sidekick Christopher Pizzey are among the famous names to have taken to the stage at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds Picture: GREGG BROWNBasil Brush and sidekick Christopher Pizzey are among the famous names to have taken to the stage at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds Picture: GREGG BROWN

“We do get people travelling from all sorts of places rather than just going to venues that might be nearer, and that’s because of the experience they have,” he said.

Venue staff pointed to it becoming one of the go-to venues for folk and blues as having helped, particularly with gigs from those genres often being advertised in the national Sunday newspapers.

The space can hold just over 500 people seated, or 697 in total made up of 500 standing and 197 seated.

Jo Rayner, St Edmundsbury Borough Council cabinet member for leisure and culture said: “It is evident that the Apex is now established as a venue of choice with performers and audiences alike.

Comedy, live music, and theatre have been joined by conferences and events to bring people in to the Apex Picture: ANDY ABBOTTComedy, live music, and theatre have been joined by conferences and events to bring people in to the Apex Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

“I believe the scale of the contribution it makes to the local economy is evidence that audiences find Bury easy to get to and a great place to spend time either side of a performance.

“Ensuring our town centres thrive is a council priority, and while we work hard to reduce the subsidy needed to maintain the building, its economic benefits are positive and wide reaching.

“That said, it is equally a hub for local groups and activities, which I think adds to its welcome, and I can see this side growing in appeal in the future.”

Mark Cordell, director of both the business improvement district our Bury St Edmunds and destination marketing organisation Bury St Edmunds and Beyond, said: “The Apex is a fabulous concert hall located in the town centre of Bury St Edmunds and it brings thousands of visitors into the town for the benefit of local businesses.

“As well has having doubled the number of tickets sold for events, in the brilliantly acoustic main arena over the past five years, the venue is also used to display and promote local artists and photographers as well as hosting a variety of meetings, seminars and conferences.

“It’s a multi-functional venue that supports and benefits visitors to the town but also residents too.

“Along with the regency Theatre Royal the town now offers a great variety of entertainment in both modern and more traditional venues, which is complimented by other historical and cultural attractions, outside spaces and of course a fabulous mix of national brand and unique independent shops, cafes and restaurants.

“The Apex is a tremendous asset for the town and enables organisations like ours to promote Bury St Edmunds as a tremendous visitor attraction to people further afield than ever before.”

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