8,000 fans make Dirty Dancing a Sands Centre box-office record breaker

Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing has smashed all box office records at Carlisle’s Sands Centre.

The hit musical took the city venue by storm last week as nearly 8,000 people walked through the doors to watch the touring show.

Staff celebrated as one of the most popular shows they’ve ever done dropped the curtain on its final performance on Saturday night.

Jonathan Higgins, arts, entertainment and events manager at the Sands Centre, was blown away by its success.

The venue has sold almost all the tickets every night for the musical’s week long run – and has completely sold out the two Saturday performances.


Mr Higgins said: “There’s been quite an unbelievable reaction.

“I’m a kid of the eighties, I was aware of my sister bopping away to Dirty Dancing when I was at school and I was aware it was an iconic movie with Patrick Swayze but what I didn’t understand was the power of that.”

Mr Higgins said he and the Sands Centre staff felt privileged when they saw audiences having the time of their lives after all their hard work.

He said: “We must never forget the direct influence we have on people.”

 Jonathan Higgins

Jonathan Higgins

The events manager, who has been at the venue for 10 years, also said the success of Dirty Dancing had had a knock-on effect throughout the city, bringing an economic boost to taxi drivers, restaurants and bars.

“It’s great for the city that the show has been a huge success,” he said.

The Dirty Dancing performed in Carlisle last week was an Italian production which is on its European tour.

The most expensive ticket was just under £50 – much less than what you would pay for a top price ticket at a London show.

The Sands Centre has had a great year with big shows like the surprise Stone Roses gig and the musical Footloose.

But Mr Higgins is anything but complacent about it.

He said: “I’m really, really keen to get down to London and to press the flesh and meet people and sell [the Sands Centre] as a place.”

"The venue has a lot going for – it’s the largest venue in Cumbria and south west Scotland and is easily accessible.

"It’s also come a long way – from having one musical in 2006 to four planned for next year including Thriller Live and Hairspray.

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