16th October 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Mareel’s cinema figures continue to surpass all expectations

The popularity of Mareel’s two cinema screens is showing no sign of letting up.

Attendances have passed the 80,000 mark in the ten months since the venue opened – just over double the 39,000 projected for the first full year and the equivalent of three visits for every islander.

Shetland Arts is putting together its end-of-year accounts for 2012/13, which include the first year’s operating costs since the much-delayed, and over-budget, cinema and music venue opened in late August. Once published those accounts should give an idea of how successfully Mareel is performing overall and whether it will turn a profit for the arts agency.

Cinema and music venue Mareel.

Cinema and music venue Mareel.

In terms of attendance alone the cinema has surpassed all expectations. With the summer blockbuster season in full swing, films such as World War Z, starring Brad Pitt, and Monsters University, the sequel to Disney Pixar’s smash hit children’s film Monsters Inc, could push the first year’s attendance figure into six figures.

Shetland Arts marketing officer Lisa Ward said: “At around 10 months into business we have already more than doubled our projected cinema sales and seem to just be getting busier by the day. We are very happy to see the huge positive response to our cinema programme and look forward to a packed summer of films.”

She added: “We’d like to say a big thank you to our customers for supporting us and to our staff for their hard work.”

Mareel’s well-publicised construction problems took Shetland Arts to the financial brink, culminating in the SIC coming to the rescue with a complex £1.1 million package to purchase a 99-year lease on the North Ness building.

The organisation also borrowed £276,000 from Shetland Charitable Trust under its bridging loan scheme for capital works last summer. That amount has now been repaid, according to the papers for last week’s trust meeting – which showed 14 different projects have accessed finance from the charitable trust’s scheme.

Shetland Arts remains in legal dispute with contractors DITT over who is responsible for 18 months’ worth of delays and cost overruns pushing the total cost towards around £13.5 million.

But its chairman Danus Skene and director Gwilym Gibbons have both suggested that, once the capital costs are resolved, Mareel is on course to balance its books and may even turn a small operating surplus in the first year.

 

40 comments

  1. Ali Inkster

    Over double the projected customers of the business plan, yet it may only show a slight profit. This does raise a couple of questions, just how good is the plan and what will the figures be like when the novelty wears off and customer numbers fall. Let someone who actually runs profitable business take a look at this plan now and make the necessary adjustments to it before the begging bowl has to come out again.

    Reply
  2. Robert Sim

    These figures demonstrate what a much-needed resource Mareel was. It is a pleasure to visit the cinema and the rest of the facilities are equally good.

    Reply
  3. Robert Lowes

    Kinda puts all those fatuous “there’s no need for it, we have Sky Movies & a big telly” arguments that were being bandied around into perspective, doesn’t it?

    Reply
  4. MARK LESLIE

    When the idea for Mareel was first mooted, I was very sceptical if it would ever be viable for the Shetland Public. I was convinced that the way forward was to somehow increase the seating both in numbers and in quality for the Garrison Theatre. I feel that my mind was perhaps misplaced..Although the building has to go a long way to repay the costs associated with it, the actual Cinema experience that has been created is just fantastic. Since the doors opened I have been 6 times with both family and friends and I will continue to do so. Now that we have a Cinema again, I feel it would be wrong to not support it!

    Reply
  5. ian tinkler

    Mareel’s well-publicised construction problems took Shetland Arts to the financial brink, culminating in the SIC coming to the rescue with a complex £1.1 million package. The organisation also borrowed £276,000 from Shetland Charitable Trust. Shetland Arts remains in legal dispute with contractors DITT over who is responsible for 18 months’ worth of delays and cost overruns pushing the total cost towards around £13.5 million. Two years late in opening. Wow, double projected cinema sales and may only just show a small profit!! If this is a success story what would be the cost of failure? This has to be just about the most expensive cinema on the planet. What a shame for all those caring organisations and charities being lost due to lack of funds. Well done indeed Shetland Arts, it is good to see now one is h being held liable for this fiasco. When will you need your next bail out?

    Reply
  6. Stewart Mac

    It’s good to see that the Mareel visitor numbers have surpassed projections, but as mentioned above, concerning that a doubling in numbers of that forecast will only result in a “slight” profit. Seems to suggets the business plan projections were way off in terms of costings other wise profit would be higher. Rather than being a sign of success (or failure) i suspect the “jury is still out” when it comes to overall viability of the project. Lets wait and see what the next published figures come out at

    Reply
  7. John Tulloch

    Is there any truth in the rumour Shetland Arts are planning an all-Shetland re-make of “Marathon Man” and they’re looking for a dentist to co-star with “the Flying Postie”?

    Reply
  8. Johan Adamson

    The cinema was much needed and I am amazed at how much interest there is in film here. It is also a great venue. But I dont think this accounts will show the true financial picture as it is the first year with one off costs etc included. We will have to wait a couple of years to see the true picture. But if they budget well and do not overdo the numbers of staff and be prudent with costs, it should be OK.

    Reply
  9. It is good news that the cinema is being well used, it may be a fad or not,
    but why oh why when there are so many white elephants knocking around Shetland that could of been revamped with a big screen to the same effect with the same public attendance as mareel gets I do not know– or is it that same old Shetland malady

    lets build the biggest and the best and hang the cost of it all ! oh dear.

    Reply
  10. Robert Lowes

    Ian Tinkler’s continued claim that Mareel has somehow taken money away from schools, charities and social care organisations is as tiresome as it it is false. Put up or shut up, Ian. Ideally, the latter.

    Reply
  11. Johan Adamson

    Its funny now the other luxuries such as the leisure centres and their funding never get mentioned by Mr Tinkler when they have been financed for years. It is just an attack on the arts.

    But it does seem a bit fur coat and nae knickers to have leisure centres and a cinema and not be able to feed the old and have to close schools. There must be a solution to this.

    If Mareel can pay for itself then surely that is Ok because it is the cinema and gig goers who will be funding the cinema and music venue. It depends how they allocate the staff costs between arts development and events in the accounts mainly as to whether Mareel makes a profit or not.

    Reply
  12. ian tinkler

    O dear, Robert Lowes! “The organisation (Shetland Arts for Mareel) also borrowed £276,000 from Shetland Charitable Trust.” Does that fact alone not rather prove my point, that funds earmarked for charities have been spent to sustain Mareel or is that money of no consequence in your view? Is that fact indeed “tiresome as it is false” as you claim? Of course it is not. Funds spent to sustain Mareel could well have been used elsewhere, no rational person could or would claim otherwise.

    Reply
  13. ian tinkler

    Johan, in response to yours, the reason I mention Mareel and excessive spending, is simply because that is what this blog / forum was about. Leisure centres are not part of this forum, nor has £15 been spent on leisure centres at a time of great austerity. I would argue just as hard if such a sum was now proposed on a new leisure centre.

    Reply
  14. ian tinkler

    £15million.
    not £15 if only

    Reply
  15. Gordon Harmer

    Before anybody commits Ian to the stocks, just remember its only the cinema figures that have surpassed expectations. We should ask the question, “can the cinema support the rest of the building? Having a great cinema is still some thing of a novelty and I would imagine figures will fall. I hope that other attractions are forth coming and help to keep Mareel afloat.

    Live satellite links to concerts, festivals and operas are keeping Cinemas on the mainland busy and from what I have been told this is going to happen at Mareel. So bring it on and hopefully this big shed will pay its way and its debts.

    Reply
  16. David Spence

    I found it amusing that Mareel charged people £20.00 (and thankfully the public reflected this farce of a charge by Mareel only selling 7 tickets and eventually having to give entry free) for a DJ (yes, a DJ……a talentless person who is paid to play ‘ OTHER PEOPLE’S Music……..and yet the stupid and delinquents of society are brainwashed into believing DJ’s are actually musically talent……..Give me a break) on the Hop Night of this years Up Helly Aa…….What amazes me, Mareel were charging more for a musically talentless person known as a DJ than they were for a person/band who were clearly musically talented and skilled. Come on Mareel, you are supposed to be a place where music is promoted, nurtured, developed and grown (locally as well as overall) and not promoting trash, utter rubbish like DJ’s Before anybody comments, Musicians are significantly more talented and skilled than any person who charges for playing other people’s music………colour it up if you want, they are still DJ’s……..enough said.

    Reply
  17. Johan Adamson

    DS why do you think your musical taste is more valid than anyone elses?

    I have said to you before in this website that being a dj and creating music that way is as valid as creating a tune on a fiddle or that modern art is as valid as painting a scene from days of yore. Just creation by different means.

    Reply
  18. DJ Lyall Halcrow

    David Spence’s sweeping, ignorant and offensive opinions about DJs has spread from the Shetland Arts forum to the Shetland Times forum.

    Talentless DJs are the same as talentless musicians, nobody want to listen to either. Talented DJs pull in just the same crowds as talented bands because people appreciate talent.

    I’ve had this discussion with you before. You clearly have no understanding of what DJing and turntablism is. Have to listen to “8 Bit Blues”, “Entroducing…..”, “The Audiance Is Listening”. All classic albums of our time produced by some of the best DJs and turntablists of our time.

    I agree that I wouldn’t pay £20 for a talentless DJ, but at the same time I wouldn’t pay £20 to see a talentless band.

    I paid £20 to see this DJ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbFIGFv4GLQ
    Worth every penny

    Delinquent of society
    DJ Lyall Halcrow

    Reply
  19. Wayne Conroy

    It would be interesting to know how many of the 80,000 attendances to the cinema were made using a silver or gold card as I dare say many of the visits were made by a few folk repeatedly visiting the cinema to get good use of their card.

    As for the comment by Mr Spence about DJ’s being “talentless”, “trash” or “utter rubbish”… Do you think a DJ just plays one record after another? A good DJ can move seamlessly between different pieces of music by different artists by mixing the music together in such a way that it can be difficult to tell where one ends and the next begins – Do you believe you could do this? It’s not just a matter of playing “other peoples music” as you obviously seem to think it is!

    I guess it’s only the “stupid and delinquents of society brainwashed into believing DJ’s are actually musically talented” that think it actually takes real skill and musical talent to be a good DJ… Thank goodness we have intelligent, open minded and well informed people such as yourself to put us right!

    Reply
  20. David Seymour

    Perhaps the clearest example yet of Mr Tinkler bending the facts to suit his agenda:

    He states: ““The organisation (Shetland Arts for Mareel) also borrowed £276,000 from Shetland Charitable Trust.” Does that fact alone not rather prove my point, that funds earmarked for charities have been spent to sustain Mareel or is that money of no consequence in your view?”

    Had Mr Tinkler included the next line of the quote, it would have proven his point void. The article clearly states that: “The organisation also borrowed £276,000 from Shetland Charitable Trust under its bridging loan scheme for capital works last summer. *That amount has now been repaid*”

    And what about the other “14 different projects have accessed finance from the charitable trust’s scheme” Is it only Mareel that he objects to making use of this scheme?

    And the fact that Mareel is operated by Shetland Arts, which is a charity?

    Reply
  21. David Seymour

    Re: Mr Tinkler’s response to Johan, “the reason I mention Mareel and excessive spending, is simply because that is what this blog / forum was about. Leisure centres are not part of this forum, nor has £15 been spent on leisure centres at a time of great austerity. I would argue just as hard if such a sum was now proposed on a new leisure centre.”

    It is commonplace for Mr Tinkler to include Mareel in the comments section of unrelated stories on this website so to say “Leisure centres are not part of this forum” could be construed as hypocritical. Also, leisure centres receive high levels of ongoing revenue funding which Mareel does not.

    Furthermore, it does not give the full picture to suggest the £15 million (Mr Tinkler’s figure) spent on Mareel was at a time of “great austerity”. The majority of the finance was committed in 2008 (work began is 2009) which, depending on which indices you use, predated the UK recession of the late 2000s (perhaps Mareel caused the global financial crisis?!) and certainly predates the majority of the recent SIC revenue cuts.

    On balance, I don’t recall hearing any opposition to the £400,000 grant given by the SCT to the SRT in 2011 to repair the faulty roofs of Scalloway and Sandwick pools. Of the two stories I found on this website, one which included the phrase “[SRT are] still considering legal action against companies involved” only one comment was (posted by Ian Adam): “Surely legal action is necessary – a rip off for sure.”

    A missed opportunity perhaps to “argue just as hard” “at a time of great austerity”?

    Perhaps if Shetland Arts were to consider “legal actions against companies involved” with a capital project and/or received a capital grant from a local body there would also be a similar level of acceptance? Oh, wait a second….

    I would like to make clear that I am in no way criticising the SRT, or SCT for that matter. I just find it strange that the justification for criticising Shetland Arts and Mareel is regularly given as “austere” local finances, yet there is little debate, as far as I’m aware, about the high level of ongoing funding given to SRT and Amenity Trust for the upkeep of their buildings.

    Reply
  22. george williamson

    perhaps dj’s lack talent and it is so easy lyall halcrow would be able to organise a halcrow vs spence event then david can show his prowess that gives him the right to run the profession down

    Reply
  23. David Spence

    Give me a break………a DJ : Person who plays recorded music on radio or television or at a nightclub or other live venue. Please note ‘ Recorded Music ‘ (aka Other people’s/bands/artists musical creation’s ).

    Dress it up all you want, excluding the technology you use, as you put it, mix other peoples musical creations, you are nothing more than playing other peoples music. Without the digital technology (where it is the technology that does the work and not the DJ) your function and job is nothing more than playing other peoples music……to compare being a DJ to this of proper talented musicians is almost an insult to them (the musicians).

    Reply
  24. Johan Adamson

    David Spence do is no going to change de mind.

    Why dont you go and do the NC Music (at Mareel) where you can make good use of the facilities and find out more about different genres of music? You would enjoy the learning process I am sure since you like marxists theories et all. Or indeed the NC Art & design where you would find out what is art and the many different artists there are.

    Reply
  25. David Spence

    George, may be we should have a dj -v- a concert trained pianist or other orchestral instrument and see who is most musically talented…….presuming the dj could read the music score and convert it into music via a couple of cd players (on the basis that in this politically correct society we live in, a cd player may be regarded as a musical instrument lol) lol

    Reply
  26. Stewart Mac

    Mr Spence,

    Yet again across these threads you demostrate a level of understanding and debate second to none. You can sleep tonight safe in the knowledge you have put the world to rights. Be sure to have a good weekend now and remember no radio for you – they just play other peoples music after all

    Reply
  27. David Spence

    George, although I am disabled, I play the synthesizer via what is called midi (musical instrument digital interface) along with interfacing with 3 sound modules which are all linked via the software of a sequencer which is via a computer.

    The sequencer software has all the attributes of music creation from music notation, 256 track ability (at my disposal are 2768 instrument sounds and 484 percussion sounds) mixing tracks, digital harmonic effects, creating your own synthesized sounds, ability to record analogue sounds via various instrument inputs, convert record analogue sounds into music notation, incorporate analogue recorded sounds into midi based sequenced recordings as well as various other software for editing, processing, creating and recording music.

    Reply
  28. Robert Lowes

    As David Seymour correctly points out, the Shetland Times article clearly states that the £276,000 Shetland Arts has borrowed from the Charitable Trust has already been paid back. That money is therefore available for other charities to make use of again. So in answer to Mr Tinkler’s question – no, it does not prove your point, because you haven’t made one. You’ve merely distorted the facts (again) in order to suit your own warped agenda (again).

    I note that at one point, Mr Tinkler was seeking election to the Shetland Islands Council – to become one of the very councillors who he has frequently labelled within these august pages as ‘donkeys’. While he might have failed in his bid to become a donkey, Ian Tinkler has consistently proven himself to be an ass.

    Reply
  29. ian tinkler

    Had Mr Tinkler included the next line of the quote, it would have proven his point void. The article clearly states that: “The organisation also borrowed £276,000 from Shetland Charitable Trust under its bridging loan scheme for capital works last summer. *That amount has now been repaid”. Great news David Seymour, just who paid this back and with whose money? I repeat “Funds spent to sustain Mareel could well have been used elsewhere; no rational person could or would claim otherwise.” Further to the above I re quote you “And the fact that Mareel is operated by Shetland Arts, which is a charity? Surely David you are aware it “Mareel” was no charity at the time of that loan. It may be now but a better description may be charity case. With regard to SRT and funds, I agree with you, surprised?

    Reply
  30. ian tinkler

    – DJ Lyall Halcrow. For the ignorant, could you please define art, and what qualifies something as an art form? Your own original definition please.
    george Williamson, define a profession please.

    Reply
  31. David Spence

    Let me apologize to all those people for my comments about DJ’s…….the worlds modern equivalent of a musical genius and the know all of how to create music using no other instrument (said loosely) than a record/cd and a player. The world is a better place as a consequence of their invaluable contribution to music will, like the great composers of the past, forever be remembered and written in the annals of music history……even although there is no actual instrument and the sounds have been created by somebody else (usually called tracks on a cd or record) but why should that matter if money, financial reward by another means of making money (actually charging people to see, wait for it, a celebrity dj player) by putting dj on the same level as proper, talented and skilled musicians…………. may be if I learn how to fly a plane using Microsoft’s Flight Simulator, I can apply to British Airways to be a fully qualified pilot, eh ? lol

    Reply
  32. craig smaaskjaer

    David Spence,

    Your argument is incoherent. If you mastered Microsoft Flight Simulator you would be considered a master of that particular game. If you mastered a set of turntables you would be considered a master of that. If you mastered a set of turntables and laid claim to being a great guitar player, or pianist etc (which is basically the premise of your argument), you would be considered to be foolish.

    Ian Tinkler,

    As Eisenstein put it: Art is conflict! It is a process of stirring up ( or, uuh, MIXING??!?) contradictions “within the spectator’s mind”. Art is a dialectic process through which the limits of nature and the “limits of the rational form” (Industry) collide to produce spectacular modes of dynamism. Technological reproduction has become one of the great innovators throughout the last century and I would point you in the direction of Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” to find evidence of people much more intelligent than I could ever hope to be foreshadowing the advent of electronic music and dj’ing decades before “Two Turntables and a Microphone…”

    To both of you I say that if you cannot consider the discipline of dj’ing, of mixing, as an art form then you must also discount many others such as editing – which is clearly one of the most fundamentally successful innovations in the history of cinema and the wider arts. If you can’t consider dj’ing as an art form then you lose the argument to consider juxtaposition as a component of art itself. If you argue for that, then I am guessing your walls, your bookshelves and your music collections all stand bare….

    Reply
  33. Shuard Manson

    I really canna wait for da Opinion King Of Socialism ta pit da talentless (so-called!) DJ LYALL HALCROW to the test in a back to back DJ RUMBLE! On his decks because dat wid be da easiest? There are NO DJ’s with talent…. Look at Norman Cook & da Aphex Twin. Really lookin forard ta seeing dee pit yun fly be night Halcrow in his place. Whens da gig Mr Spence?

    Reply
  34. ian tinkler

    Goods to see Robert is using his needle sharp interlect and reverting to his true genius. When devoid of ration argument throw insults. How does it feel Robert to see all I stated over the years about Mareel to have come true. Mareel has nearly bankrupted Shetland Arts, was years late opening needing over a million pounds of bailout funds to survive. All of this was predicted by myself and denied endlessly by you, numerous Mareel stakeholders and Shetland arts. All these facts being in the public record. I am truly sorry I was proved so correct; I would have wished Mareel to have been truly successful without being such a drain on public funds. Never mind it may one day it may show a slight profit on the cinema, perhaps. I wonder who the true asses are here. I think the facts are rather self-evident.

    Reply
  35. Neil Williamson

    D Spence,
    regardingthe remarks regarding DJ’s, some produce there own music and mix it too. However, most bands play tunes created by other more talented people, therefore they are just copy cats.
    Being involved with the Yell Youth Entertainments group, nee, Kaleidoscope disco, and having seen the crouds of folk at them, and may I add, the thousands of pound they have generated for the local halls and charities ( which the disco donates, being a non-profit group ), DJ’s should not be scorned at.
    It is a new modern age, where, along with talented bands and groups making and producing there own songs and lyrics, DJ’s, for the most part, with what we have been involved in anyway, have been a very very great thing. Like I say, we have, with the attraction of DJ’s, not only provided great nights out, but generated thousands and thousands of pounds for charity and local groups.
    However, the same cannot be said for the greedy bands and musicians out there! Stick dat in de pipe!

    Reply
  36. DJ Lyall Halcrow

    David, don’t turn this into a slagging match. Please listen to the LPs and get back to me. Scratching techniques have come on so much in the last 30 years that I would consider the turntable as an instrument. DJs now feature in live bands and orchestras across the globe.

    I’d love to meet up and show you some techniques and give you a better insight to what turntablists do.

    I think your definition of what a DJ does is very dated. DJs don’t just hit play on a CD player and I think it is unfair to portray all DJs as a CD player.

    I shant be replying to any more comments because it is like talking to a brick wall . Please listen to the LPs listed above and if you’d like to meet up about to discuss further please e-mail lyallhalcrow@gmail.com

    Peace

    Reply
  37. ian tinkler

    craig smaaskjaer, I am not in any way stating or indicating a DJ cannot create an art form. Absolutely anything created by mankind which aesthetically creates pleasure to another could and should be considered art. What is good or bad art cannot be defined, it is purely a subjective matter of opinion. Only the self-opinionated and arrogant would try to compare one type of art with another. In my opinion they are usually found working as correspondents and critics commenting on the art of others, whilst themselves creating nothing… My art is/was ballet and photography, the former was quite without much talent! The later would be subjective to the individual.

    Reply
  38. David Spence

    Craig, you cannot necessarily compared the art form of editing film footage, storyboarding, sound recording or any other form of media which requires editing to produce the final product equal or dj’ing being equally as skilled or talented and to say because it is an ‘ art form ‘ (in today’s world any expression of sound, vision, motion, photography etc can be described as an art form) begs the question where do you put the limit on what defines skill, talent, dedication and beauty compared to, lets say, ordinary behaviour (which in many cases dj’ing would be classified……lets judge the issue on the whole picture and not just part of the picture which pleases you).

    May be if I accurately put all the ingredients of a recipe correctly together and make a cake may be in this pathetic politically correct world where one’s views are restricted due to not wanting to, in any way, offend somebody, somebody out there, due to lets always be positive and make people feel good about themselves (even although we may be lying……but such behavior is not allowed in today’s world) maybe think I am a michelin star chef.

    As I have said previously, dj’ing may be, ever so slightly, highlighted as a skill and talent nowadays because people are stupid enough to believe in this pathetic celebrity status era and pay well over the odds for, in affect, somebody playing somebody else’s music and be grateful and privileged they saw somebody that was famous (said very loosely) and equally have the same status as very much more skilled, talented people of the same medium known as musicians.

    Everybody may lambaste me for expressing a view, lets face it, most people would also reflect in their opinion (hence Mareel only selling 7 tickets for people to see a ‘ celebrity dj ‘) but, as mentioned, in this politically correct world we live in, such expressions are prohibited or (as some people may want) not allowed at all………unless, of course, you blatantly lie just to keep everybody else happy.

    Reply
  39. J Smith

    “George, although I am disabled, I play the synthesizer via what is called midi (musical instrument digital interface) along with interfacing with 3 sound modules which are all linked via the software of a sequencer which is via a computer.

    The sequencer software has all the attributes of music creation from music notation, 256 track ability (at my disposal are 2768 instrument sounds and 484 percussion sounds) mixing tracks, digital harmonic effects, creating your own synthesized sounds, ability to record analogue sounds via various instrument inputs, convert record analogue sounds into music notation, incorporate analogue recorded sounds into midi based sequenced recordings as well as various other software for editing, processing, creating and recording music.”
    David Spence

    This sounds like a fairly accurate description of some of the more crucial aspects of DJing.
    “incorporate analogue recorded sounds into midi based sequenced recordings”
    So, correct me if I am wrong, but…playing other artists’ music?
    I find your slur on DJs puzzling, as you declare to be a producer of electronic music yourself.

    Reply
  40. David B Spence

    Once again I find the need to comment 50% due to subject matter and 50% so that I don’t get confused with my rather strange namesake.

    As an amateur musician and also someone who has occasionally found himself manning turntables, I wouldn’t dream of describing myself as a DJ in its modern form. I play other peoples music when I’m there – proper DJ’s do much more in line with what my namesake says he does, generating live mixes where underlying tracks may be barely recognisable nor even present in some cases.

    To clarify – I think I can hold my own in most sessions, but I don’t have anywhere near the skill or musical knowledge to be a modern DJ.

    I can, however, understand and respect views and opinions that do not fit with my own, so maybe there is hope for me yet.

    David B

    Reply

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