Another successful summer at Kilworth House Theatre, between Lutterworth and Market Harborough, has led to record ticket sales
Delighted staff at the 550-seat theatre say that a staggering 54,000 tickets have been sold so far, for a record 105 shows this summer.
And theatre boss Celia Mackay admitted to the Mail: “In my wildest dreams I never thought that the theatre would be supported and appreciated by so many people.”
Kilworth House Theatre was set up by Celia Mackay in 2007, shortly after husband Richard sold his share of Market Harborough holiday firm Travelsphere.
It has gone from strength to strength ever since.
The theatre, the second biggest in the county after Curve in Leicester, is believed to pull in at least £1.5 million a summer in ticket sales alone.
But overheads - and therefore financial risk - are also huge. The musical Singing In The Rain, for example, which ran until mid-July this year, cost the theatre £85,000 a week to stage.
The theatre - now in its ninth season - is dedicated to presenting large-scale professional musical theatre and one-off shows.
It is set in a 38-acre estate belonging to the award-winning Kilworth House Hotel, also owned by the family.
Though it is “outdoor” the theatre’s stage and its audience are protected from any rain by sail-like canvas roofs.
The theatre’s next big production this season is the West End musical comedy Legally Blonde, based on the hugely popular film, which runs from August 20 to September 20.
The musical won seven major awards – including Best Musical 2011 in the prestigious Olivier Awards.
The theatre was recently chosen as one of Britain’s top five outdoor theatres by the What’s On Stage website.
Celia Mackay says the theatre is now close to capacity.
“Unfortunately we cannot, in reality, extend our season unless we offer thermal underwear to our audiences!”
She says she will continue to offer a “high standard of productions” and “shows that our audiences want to see”.
She added: “‘Book early to avoid disappointment’ is really true at KHT, as 97% of our shows are sold out weeks before we open.”