Les Miserables boosts Norfolk economy by �4.5m

Peter WalshIt has been hailed as a 'coup' for Norwich and theatre bosses have said the five-week run of Les Miserables will boost the local economy by more than �4m.Peter Walsh

It has been hailed as a 'coup' for Norwich and theatre bosses have said the five-week run of Les Miserables will boost the local economy by more than �4m.

The show, which opened at the Barbican in 1985, has captured the imagination of theatre-goers for the past quarter of a century and this new touring production has been given a revamp to mark the anniversary of the musical which will celebrate 25 years in London in October.

The new Les Miserables, which stars Gareth Gates, is playing in only a limited number of theatres across the country including Norwich's Theatre Royal.

But the show, which is in Norwich until March 20, is not only good news for the theatre or fans of the show - with estimates that it will benefit the local economy to the tune of �4.5m.

John Bultitude, a spokesman for the Norwich Theatre Royal said: 'It's been a massive success for us here in Norwich. We're very lucky to have it - it's touring only a handful of UK venues.

'It's attracted people from a wide area - there's people coming down from the North West who missed out on seeing it in Manchester and a lot of people from London. Hotels in the area have been doing Les Miserables breaks. We think it's put about �4.5m into the local economy.'

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Mr Bultitude said the economy had been boosted by the production directly, through ticket sales, people coming into the city to eat, and staff and crew from the production being paid to work, live, and eat in the city.

But there has also been an indirect benefit through things like food supplies to hotels, and venues like the Marriott Sprowston Manor, putting on Les Miserables packages with tickets and accommodation.

Mr Bultitude said: 'It's a coup for us to have a show of this calibre in Norwich. Not only is it Les Miserables, it's a brand new production and 25th anniversary tour.

'The audiences are loving it and it has had standing ovations at the curtain call. National reviewers tell us it's difficult to tell the difference between the West End version and this one which is praise indeed.'

There are thought to be somewhere in the region of 100 staff and crew members staying in Norwich as part of the Les Miserables production.

For more information or to book tickets call the box office on 01603 630000.

To see a review of Les Miserables or for the very best guide to what's on around Norwich log onto www.eveningnews24.co.uk or see Going Out every Friday.

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