The theatre’s recovery plan approved: green light for the 8 million loan. Yes to the 2016 budget and, in the meantime, the bonus for virtuous Foundations.

The final go-ahead has been given for the recovery plan for the Teatro Massimo, a go-ahead that allows access to an EUR 8 million loan at a subsidised rate from the Ministry of the Economy. The approval comes at the same time as the approval of the 2016 budget, which closes with an operating surplus of 159,000 euro, and the news that the 2015 final balance (to be approved by April) will also close with a surplus, which will allow the Theatre to access the bonus for virtuous Foundations, i.e. those that close three consecutive financial years in the black.

The bonus consists in the distribution among the ‘virtuous’ ones of 5 per cent of FUS, the Single Fund for the Performing Arts, a sum of around 10 million euro. Three good pieces of news for the accounts of the Massimo Theatre, which are consolidated thanks to the boom in guided tours, the great increase in subscriptions (+ 22 per cent those for the 2016 opera and ballet season, a percentage that rises to 25 per cent if subscriptions to the concert season are also taken into account), and the excellent overall performance of the box office.

The recovery plan has successfully passed the three levels of approval: that of the government commissioner for the management of the Rehabilitation Fund for theatres in crisis; that of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of the Economy, and finally that of the Court of Auditors. The EUR 8 million loan will make it possible to reduce the cost of loans taken out in 2005 with the Banca Popolare Siciliana, then the Banca di Lodi. The loans, which amounted to EUR 20 million, were reduced over time to 14. The 8 million euro loan now reduces it to 6. ‘We have kept our commitments and brought the recovery plan to the finishing line,’ comments the superintendent Francesco Giambrone, ‘rationalising expenses and relaunching the theatre’s activities in terms of artistic productions and the involvement of new audiences.

Leoluca Orlando, Mayor and President of the Foundation, adds. “In confirmation of the fact that quality culture equals quality economy, here come these figures: unequivocal proof of the change of pace of the Massimo Theatre, which is increasingly among the experiences of excellence on the national and international scene”.

In the wake of the reorganisation plan, the 2016 budget approved unanimously by the Steering Committee with the favourable opinion of the Board of Auditors moves forward, with total revenues of 28 million 597 thousand euro and a surplus for the year of 159 thousand euro. As far as income is concerned, the heaviest item is that of contributions from the founding members: 14.2 million from the Ministry of Culture; 8.2 million from the Sicilian Region; 1.9 million from the Municipality.
But revenues from own income are growing significantly. The forecast, as far as box office is concerned, is 2 million 585 thousand euro against the 2 million 350 of the previous year (subscriptions, 1 million 222 thousand; tickets 1 million 363 thousand), while that for guided visits to the theatre is still growing (400 thousand euro). And for the first time, the item relating to the café-restaurant, opened in March last year, and to the drinks vending machines, set up for the first time: the expected revenue is 90 thousand euro. An item, that of tickets, which is growing thanks to pricing policies and many targeted marketing actions that aim to further increase the “fill rate” of operas, ballets and concerts in the coming years, involving new audiences.

On the cost front, the budget records a containment of personnel costs that remain within the 19 million euro target set in the recovery plan (in 2015 it was 19 million 300, in 2014 19 million and a half). The second expenditure item is artistic production costs, which are growing due to a precise commitment by the theatre’s top management to increase productivity without sacrificing artistic quality: in 2016 they will amount to 5 million 367 thousand euros: 300 thousand more than in 2015.