The Millennium Forum today announced details of its significant impact on the local economy.  An independent study which was conducted for the financial year of 2023 reports that the City and Region’s leading arts and cultural venue contributed a massive £16.2million to the North West economy. It also reported a significant return on its DCSDC Grant Aid, with over £35 being generated back into the local economy for every £1 of council Grant Aid allocated to the venue.  These findings clearly position the award-winning theatre as a major contributor to the economy of the City and region and a key driver for the night-time economy and local businesses such as hotels, pubs, restaurants and shops.

David McLaughlin, Chief Executive of the Millennium Forum, said:

“I am thrilled that this independent study indicates our strong position as an economic contributor to the City and region.  We’ve always believed that the Forum’s contribution to the local economy was substantial and these results clearly reinforce this.  Our strong and varied programming has attracted over 160,000 paying customers last year – an increase of some 11% on 2019. This clearly highlights our success in navigating a populist creative programme amidst continually difficult financial times post-pandemic.”

He added:   

“It’s also important to note that our offering is greatly regarded as being ‘value for money’, with the vast majority of our customers agreeing that our ticket prices are competitive; this is of ever-increasing importance to us, particularly in the current economic climate.  We know money is tight for everyone and our commitment to providing world class entertainment at competitive ticket prices has always been one of our main objectives; this independent study emphasises our success in achieving this.

It’s also important for us to thank all our citizens for their continued support because without their support, we simply wouldn’t be able to survive, let alone thrive.”

The study also revealed that the Millennium Forum plays a vital role in impacting on society and community, particularly in terms of supporting older people, younger people and those with disabilities. Events such as the Dementia Friendly Tea Dances, Moves & Melodies, Energy Train Discos, InterAct Youth Festival, Youth Open Mic nights and the recent, Happy Stage, all nurture a sense of community and belonging amongst participants, allowing them to learn new skills, grow confidence and make new friends; these are essential tools to fostering positive mental health as well as tackling isolation and loneliness. The study indicates that the Millennium Forum is a major contributor to these crucial factors of society that transcend economic benefit. 

Martin Bradley, Chair of Derry Theatre Trust, commented:

“It is very important to us to provide a theatre that everyone can enjoy and gain great benefit from.  The fact that our audiences have increased significantly post-pandemic clearly indicates the importance of the theatre to our society.  The Forum has always had a mission to engage fully with its audiences and our award-winning team constantly strives to deliver a wide range of Education, Outreach and Access programmes throughout the year and on tour throughout the region that reinforce this.  For example, all of our Education events are delivered free of charge (we have over 200 free youth events each year), enabling young people of all backgrounds within the City and surrounding regions to participate and engage with the Arts.   Our Access Programme delivers a range of events throughout the year that ensures we maximise accessibility and inclusion.  We pride ourselves in ensuring that our theatre is fully accessible to everyone, regardless of their age or ability and I am delighted that this independent study recognises this and our significant contribution to our society.”

He added:

“These incredible findings of this independent study are testament to the hardworking and dedicated Forum staff who work tirelessly to provide a world class space for the people of the City and surrounding region to enjoy and be proud of.  Thanks is also due to our major funders, Derry City & Strabane District Council and the Arts Council NI for their foresight and continued support.”