This year`s festive musical at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, It’s A Wonderful Life, got off to a truly sensational start eclipsing all previous Christmas shows at PFT – including last year’s sensational, award-winning White Christmas.
At its opening four performances the musical played to 97% of capacity, and since the first performance on 29 November, audience members have been taking to Facebook and Twitter to acclaim PFT’s Scottish première production of Thomas M. Sharkey`s musical adaptation of the classic Christmas movie.
Cast of It's A Wonderful LifeWebAlthough  renowned for both the quality and scale of its productions, the prospect of PFT staging a musical version of this iconic festive film seems to have proved even more irresistible than usual for audiences, both long-distance visitors and more local theatre-goers alike.
Over the opening weekend, PFT welcomed visitors from south of the border – originating from Carlisle, Oldham, Herefordshire, Nottinghamshire, Gloucestershire, London and even Portsmouth - from all the major Scottish cities and postcodes, and from Germany and Switzerland.

Huge Volume of Business
John Durnin, PFT`s Chief Executive and Artistic Director, commented:  “We`ve been delighted by the highly enthusiastic response of audiences to the opening performances. And, to be frank, we`ve been amazed by the huge volume of business that our box offices and website have been experiencing.
“We thought that our first winter musical was going to be a hard act to follow, so reactions of this kind have come as a marvellous surprise.
“Given that It`s A Wonderful Life is a very different kind of show to White Christmas, to say nothing of the fact that it`s never before been seen in Scotland, it`s even more pleasing that the advance sales have surpassed anything that we achieved last yea;., it`s thrilling to see how highly theatre-goers from across the UK and beyond now value PFT`s musical theatre work.”
With a further surge in ticket sales expected for It’s A Wonderful Life and advance bookings already building for PFT’s Scottish-themed Summer Season in 2016, the theatre’s ability to attract substantial visitor numbers to Highland Perthshire continues to be great news for the Perthshire economy.
Recent research has shown that 59% of PFT patrons stay overnight in the area and each one spends an average of £350 to £450 per person, per trip on hotel and restaurant bookings, retail purchases and at other visitor attractions.

Year-Round Cultural Tourists
This significant boost will be widely welcomed in these still challenging economic times, especially in the run-up to Christmas. 
Mr. Durnin added: “The long-term aim of our Autumn and Winter programme - which only started in 2003 - has been to extend the length of Highland Perthshire`s traditional visitor season and to make Pitlochry a major cultural tourism destination year-round, not just in the summer.
“By introducing new, engaging and distinctive programme elements - like a Christmas musical, the Autumn Classic production, and the Winter Words Festival – with no dilution of the quality and the production standards for which the summer season is famed, we’ve been able to attract an entirely new visitor market to Pitlochry between October and March.”
It’s A Wonderful Life runs until 22 December, with evening performances every Wednesday to Saturday and matinée performances every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets from on 01796 484626 or at PitlochryFestivalTheatre.com

The cast of PFT's It's A Wonderful Life is pictured above
 

 

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