“Last season we had to turn away 20,000 customers due to sold out performances, which represented $600,000 in potential revenue,” said Smith, “our theatrical equity actors have to rehearse in off site rental studios, and we have filled-to-capacity school facilities with a waiting list of students wanting to attend our award-winning charter high school.”
Economic impact studies have indicated that Tuacahn contributes $55 million annually to the economy of Utah. Amphitheatre patrons stay in hotels, dine in restaurants, shop and visit other tourism related businesses, with 80 percent of Tuacahn’s guests coming from locations other than Southern Utah. Over 240,000 people attended a theatrical production or concert in 2011. Surveys indicate that Tuacahn is second only to Zion National Park as a primary reason visitors come to Southern Utah.
The Tuacahn expansion project includes a 16,000 square-foot Arts Center including a music conservatory with practice rooms, dance studio/rehearsal space, visual arts classroom, art gallery space, ShowCare facilities (child care) and an expanded Gift Gallery with restaurant. The Amphitheatre expansion will incorporate a total of 200 lawn-style seats that will flank each side of the theatre’s existing seating.
“The expanded seating,” informs Smith, “will allow us to attract more popular acts like our recently sold-out Martina McBride concert, and the new Arts Building will better serve our guests, meet theatrical rehearsal needs, and be able to expand Tuacahn High School’s enrollment up to 90 new students.”
Tuacahn’s ongoing success is in part due to its relationship with Disney Theatrical Productions. During 2010 Tuacahn was the only theatre in the United States to produce Disney’s Tarzan, which at the time was breaking box office records in Europe. Last season Tuacahn was the first theater outside of Broadway to produce Disney’s The Little Mermaid, a theatrical record was broken when Tuacahn sold out every show for the entire June – October run. “Disney loved what we did with The Little Mermaid,” said Artistic Director Scott Anderson, “because of our outdoor setting we were able to create unique and memorable special effects. And as a result,” Anderson adds, “we will be one of the first theatres in the U.S. to present the newly expanded stage adaptation of Disney’s Aladdin with Oscar-winning music, flying carpet, and never before seen 3-D special effects.”
About Tuacahn Center
Tuacahn Center for the Arts features a 1,920-seat Amphitheatre and High School for the Performing Arts. Founded in 1995, it is a professional non-profit presentation and production organization that inspires creativity and greatness in the human spirit by providing world-class family entertainment and education. In the last 17 years, Tuacahn has grown to a $10 million annual organization with its theatrical productions and professional concert series, and employs a staff of 350. Utah’s first charter school, Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts, opened in 1999 and has an enrollment of 360 full-time students who take college preparatory classes with a focus in specific areas of the performing arts. The school has attained a 95 percent graduation rate in the past six years, with 86 percent of graduates attending an institution of higher learning.