Derby currently well behind in theatre provision

The Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust has conducted a piece of work to establish how Derby compares to other cities in terms of number of theatre seats taking into account the local population.

The graph in this article compares Derby to 8 other towns and cities across the UK, it shows the number of theatre seats in 2019 per 1000 people in the local population. In Derby’s case the theatre seats include Derby Theatre and the Guildhall Theatre but also assumes the Assembly rooms are reopened.

As the graph shows, even if the Assembly Rooms were reopened Derby still falls well behind other cities on number of theatre seats compared to the local population. Since the Assembly Rooms and the Guildhall are currently out of action that would actually bring this metric down to just over 2 theatre seats per 1000 people.

The population figures are based on the 2011 census and since Derby’s population has increased rapidly in the last 7 years (and increased relative to many other UK cities) the metric for Derby is in fact overly generous.

However, the shaded bars on top of Derby’s columns show what would happen if the Hippodrome was restored. In this scenario Derby’s number of theatre seats per head of population would return to a very respectable level and would be comparable with Nottingham for example.

In the real world, this would have a noticeable effect. The people of Derby would have a much greater choice of live entertainment each week of the year and it would give greater capacity for amateur groups to practice and perform. The restoration of the Hippodrome (Derby’s largest theatre) would increase the footfall in the city centre especially boosting Derby’s night time economy.

Number of theatre seats.png

Joan Travis