Hawick Amateur Operatic Society has been forced to raise the price of tickets for its annual show, after making a £6,000 loss last year.
The mainstay of the local entertainment scene has this week defended a decision to increase the price of briefs for this year’s debut production of ‘Sister Act’, from £10 up to £12.50, revealing that it is a vital to protect the future of the 105-year old company.
Hawick Amateur Operatic Society (HAOS) business manager Kev Sykes stated: “Some people may not like the price rise, but last year we were £6,000 short at the end, and the opera itself has to make up the difference.”
Townsfolk may be shocked to learn that last year’s show ‘Summer Holiday’ cost the group £25,000 to bring to the local stage – but a drop in ticket sales and failure to attract a new generation of audiences, has been blamed for the financial shortfall. The group’s largest outlay was £5,250 on scenery, closely followed by £4,000 for the production team, and £3,000 for hiring of the hall. Mr Sykes explained: “People won’t realise what it costs every year to put on a show, and the amount of work that goes into it. We don’t want to ram this down the public’s throat, but the committee feel we have to let people know that if we carry on like this, sadly HAOS will not be able to continue.”
He added: “I think the name ‘opera’ puts some people of, but it’s not all singing, it’s just like going to see a show in Edinburgh, there’s talking and dancing and it’s for all ages.”
The group also has to pay royalties, the orchestra, insurance, sound and lighting, props and costumes to name a few. And this year with the feel-good musical comedy Sister Act being shown for the first time – for which Hawick was chosen above the rest of the Borders’ amateur groups – it means they have to pay more for new costumes and scenery.
Mr Sykes added: “We do a lot of fund-raising and are fortunate that we have a safety net from the years when HAOS was buzzing and made money, but that is dwindling away. We work very hard from September to March, but the way things are, we won’t be here forever.”
Sister Act is on from March 9-14. Tickets go on sale in the pop-up shop on Saturday January 31, then Rum & Milk.