Pinkerton Academy’s Stockbridge Theatre has become one of the most significant presenters of the arts in all of Derry in recent years. Created in 2002 and with close to nine hundred seats, the theatre has not only seen a wide assortment of the best student and community performers in Derry, but also typically sees around fifteen to twenty professional touring artists on an annual basis.
So with art and music continuing to blossom throughout the town, especially with the addition of the Tupelo Music Hall, the town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee recent held a discussion on how Pinkerton’s premier theatre can be used to further bring economic success to Derry on Dec. 18.
Speaking on behalf of Pinkerton was Matt Cahoon, the Director of Cultural Programming for the school, who elaborated on what the theatre has already accomplished for both itself and the town. Cahoon mentioned that the Stockbridge usually sees around thirty eight thousand patrons each year, hosting everything from benefit concerns and martial arts displays to political rallies and Miss New Hampshire competitions.
Although Cahoon admitted that no research has been done on the specific economic impact the theatre has had, not only are do visiting artists usually book around one hundred and forty hotel rooms each year, on top of purchasing meals and gas, but Cahoon also cited a recent study that showed that the average American spends close to twenty five dollars on audience expenditures every time they go out.
But regardless of how much money the theatre can make, Cahoon assured the committee that students are still their top priority.
“We do hope to keep the students at the center of these activities,” Cahoon stated.
Cahoon has already been working closely with committee members Craig Cunningham and Christina Gossel over the Stockbridge, but several members of the committee inquired with Cahoon to make the matter clearer. Member John Potucek showed curiosity over the theatre’s budget and whether or not is self supporting, to which Cahoon stated that its budget is tied to Pinkerton’s budget and admitted that the enrichment of Pinkerton’s students is still its main focus, meaning that the theatre is not exactly self-sufficient.
Committee Chair Paul Needham, on the other hand, was more concerned with what the committee could do to assist Cahoon and the theatre, feeling that there is great potential to be had with it.
“There’s an important niche that we could help to develop,” Needham noted.
Amongst the suggestions made were general cooperation from the committee and possibly the Chamber of Commerce, restaurant maps to show visitors and visiting artists the best places to eat in town and even the possibility of a hotel within Derry.