Frank’s Hamburger House steps in to help drive food and drink sales at Castle Theatre

The Castle Theatre, Wellingborough
The Castle Theatre, Wellingborough

A Frank’s Hamburger House is opening at The Castle Theatre in Wellingborough as part of a drive to bring in extra revenue at the venue.

In its annual report, the theatre said the bar, cafe and functions had seen a decrease in sales of about £16,000 in 2014-15.

This has mostly been attributed to a continued decline in daytime sales, and while the sale of alcohol and non-hot beverages in the evenings has grown, it is not as high as they felt it should be.

Director Darren Walter said they had to ‘take definitive action on the bar and cafe trading’ so they have been working with Tom Hewer Enterprises to take over the running of the bar and cafe and open a new on-site restaurant, Franks Hamburger House.

Mr Hewer already has several restaurants in Northampton and recently opened a new one in Towcester.

It is hoped the new initiative will mean the commercial trading operation returns to what it should be.

The theatre sold more than 71,000 tickets to events in 2014-15, an increase of 1,340 on the previous year.

It also saw an increase in the number of professional artistic events, community events, and functions, business and private events held there.

The figures were contained in a report on the theatre’s performance discussed by members of Wellingborough Council’s partnerships and performance committee this week.

It covered the theatre’s performance at the end of the financial year 2014-15, activity in the first months of 2015-16 and a forecast for the second half of the financial year.

Among the highlights was last year’s Christmas show, Pinocchio, which saw more than 75 young people from the borough involved in the show alongside the professional cast and the highest public ticket sales for a Christmas show to date.

The comedy programme is going from strength to strength, with acts including Lee Evans, Josh Widdicombe and Alan Carr driving sell-out audiences.

Contemporary dance is another area which the theatre would like to expand, and they have secured specific funding streams to support dance development.