Nearly 10,000 people visited the Museum of the Moon at the Core at Corby Cube.. before Covid put pay to a bumper year

The Core at Corby is now looking to the future with its Covid recovery plan

Monday, 8th March 2021, 8:55 am
The Museum of the Moon was one of the Core's most succesful ever events. Image: JPI Media.

The Core theatre was on track for increased audiences and a fifth-consecutive successful year before Covid ended their season early last year.

The theatre, which is run by the charitable Corby Cube Theatre Trust, was forced to shut on March 17, 2020, and has been unable to reopen ever since. Now, in an annual report to Corby Council, which provides a major grant to the the venue every year, councillors will hear that the theatre was on track to make a surplus income until it closed its doors two weeks before the end of the financial year.

During the year 2019/20, The Core ran two GROW outdoor arts festivals in partnership with Made with Many, with the most recent light-based festival seeing record levels of attendance for the annual event.

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The Core is based at the Corby Cube. Image: Alison Bagley.

An estimated 23,000 people visited the town centre over the course of the weekend to see highlights including a fire garden next to Corby Boating Lake, a team of illuminated drummers leading a 3,000 strong crowd on a light parade and a giant moon suspended in the theatre space which attracted 9,5000 people.

Audiences from areas of lowest engagement in Corby increased by more than 60 per cent over three iterations of the festival.

The Core was in the third year of a five-year funding agreement which provided a grant of £297,500 from Corby Council. This also unlocks annual funding of £140,812 from the Arts Council each year as well as additional government funding.

The report which will be heard by councillors at a Corby Council Grants Committee meeting this week states: "All events scheduled for the final two weeks of the financial year were cancelled and this led to a deficit of £22,861, despite consistently good results from secondary spend and the presented programme throughout the year.

"In 2019/20, it generated 48 per cent of its annual turnover through ticket sales, bars, café, and fundraising, compared to 57 per cent in 2018/19.

"In the financial year 2019/20, The Core’s presented programme attracted audiences of 41,826, a 13.2 per cent increase on attendance in 2018/19 with 9,500 people attending The Core in one week to see Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram in February 2020."

During lockdown the theatre has delivered a range of online activities including the Imagination Station for children which has employed about 50 freelance artists who create content for the platform.

All employees were furloughed except the director and some admin staff and a £198,000 grant from the Government's cultural recovery fund was awarded to help with additional reopening costs.

This means that cost saving efforts and access to local leisure grants, coupled with the recovery grant sees the venue expecting to close the year with with no financial losses and with a reserve pot of £15,424 heading into the 21/22 financial year.