Penarth Town Council’s demand for double its previous percentage cut of box office takings for forthcoming Rainbow Valley pantomimes in the Paget Rooms has resulted in the firm withdrawing from negotiations.
The famous comedian Owen Money MBE who had starred in the pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk at the Paget Rooms in January this year said he had decided to “pull the venue” for next year.
The Labour-controlled Town Council says it had asked for a “box office split” of 40%/60% for a potential week of pantomime shows next January – with 40% going to the council this time.
The Council said this increased slice of the takings would “ would reflect the resources and commitment of council staff in promoting the event and to ensure the council and people of Penarth benefit from the commercial use of a town asset.”
However now it looks as though there will be no pantomime at all in the Paget Rooms next January – and the theatre will be empty and unused – bringing what was to have been a three-year deal to an abrupt and premature end.
The council claims that “Rainbow Valley Productions chose to withdraw rather than enter into discussions regarding contractual arrangements.” – but for Penarth’s Labour councillors it’s an uncomfortable lesson in the basics of market economics.
On their part, a Rainbow Valley director Jamie Edwards is reported as saying the firm is “bitterly disappointed” with Penarth Town Council and that the council just doesn’t understand the costs involved in staging the production .
In January this year the production company had successfully staged “Jack and the Beanstalk” starring comedian Owen Money at the Paget Rooms – although it’s said the show did not produce the level of income that had been projected .
The company had previously split their box office takings with the council on an 80%/ 20% basis but Mr Edwards said the council held out for a 40% cut of the box office takings for next January – and that was just too much.