All bets are off

Local bookmakers in Smalltown and Dullbridge have revealed they have stopped taking bets on which of the scheduled performances at the White Elephant Enclosure will be the next to cancel.

Last year the WEE saw several shows cancelled due to poor ticket sales, including a tribute to modern musical talents such as Little Fix and Barriana Brande, as well as a performance by international singing superstar Bobbie Williams. A version of the classic Hands and Great Al pantomine which was due to be at the WEE in December was cancelled and rescheduled for March.

So far this year a performance by Tina Turnip, which was due to take place last weekend has also bitten the dust.

In addition the rescheduled traditional Easter Pantomime, forvwhich Smalltown and Dullbridge (SaD) Town Council paid £1500 to the production company, was quietly dropped after it became apparent that attempts to market it as a ‘Special Production of Particular Interest to Schools’, half price tickets, including a three-course meal before the show in the ticket price and a free kitten with every ticket sold, failed to attract punters.

Whether or not SaD Town Council will be able to reclaim their payment to the pantomime production company, made with complete disregard to the Subsidy Control Act 2022, which states that local government funding can only be given if it is ‘in the public interest, address a market failure or equity concern’, is unknown.

Currently the odds are on a magic show scheduled for late May and 80s musical tribute ‘Club Tropicana’ in June being added to the 2024 cancellation list.

The Smalltown Culture and Arts Manager, Susie Cookbook, has also suggested that the monthly Comedy Club events be cut back to every two months as ticket sales go from bad to worse.

Whilst performers are well within their rights to cancel if poor sales makes it unworthwhile for them to turn up, it doesn’t look good to prospective promoters looking for venues. Word will get round, and as time goes on the Smalltown Culture and Arts Media Promotions Individual, May Tricks, is going to find it increasingly difficult to find acts to fill up one Saturday night every month, let alone achieve the Top Secret Consultant’s suggestion that shows are booked every night of the week.

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