The first 3 days saw almost 5,000 visitors pass through the doors and since then the visitor numbers have been growing. Visitors have been dropping in to wander through the three stunning art galleries, to see a show in one of the MAC’s two theatres, or simply to enjoy a coffee or lunch in the MAC’s Café/bar – Canteen. Visitors are tracked throughout the state of the art building by electronic trackers at all entrance points and also by individual counters at each gallery.
The total visitors to date have exceeded the MAC’s annual target of 40,000 visitors to its three galleries. This is thanks to a number of extremely popular exhibitions such as the Conor & Lowry exhibition, which runs until 10 June and Robert Therrien’s giant table and chairs sculpture, which is being exhibited for the first time ever in Ireland. For a brand new arts centre and indeed for any new attraction, these figures are extraordinary and prove that the MAC is doing what it set out to do, to open the arts to all.
The MAC’s live events programme is also fairing well in these financially tough times. Dance show ‘Straight to DVD’ by ponydance, a MAC commission, has proven exceptionally popular with near sell-out shows every night of its five night run. This week will see the premiere of ‘Sweet Charity’, an upbeat musical, which is also selling well.
Speaking about the figures Anne McReynolds, Chief Executive of the MAC, said “We are delighted and overwhelmed with our visitor numbers to date an indeed people’s response to the building. The MAC has been 10 years in the making and the team have been working so hard on what is a new concept for Northern Ireland. To see such high visitor numbers in the first month makes it all worthwhile.
Anne continued, “Our next show ‘Sweet Charity’ is going to open up the building to a completely new audience and we are really excited about that. What makes our shows even more accessible is our pricing structure. We follow the airline model which means that the earlier customers book, the cheaper their ticket will be. There are tickets to our world-class shows from just £9.50, which is hard to beat. Also, there are plenty of free activities to do in the MAC. All three of our galleries are free of charge and the perfect place to spend an afternoon.”
Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “As principal funder of the MAC, the Arts Council is thrilled with visitor numbers to the new state-of-the-art venue in the first month of opening. The £5.25million that the Arts Council has invested in the MAC will continue to stimulate the economy through a more attractive cultural tourism offering, while people here will benefit from the fabulous opportunities available to participate in and enjoy the arts. With a very exciting season programme planned for the year ahead, the impressive visitor figures look set to continue.”
For more information on the MAC or to book tickets to any of the upcoming shows, visit www.themaclive.com or call 028 90235053