NEPA Scene Staff

Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre reaches No. 93 in Top 100 worldwide theater list based on 2018 ticket sales

Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre reaches No. 93 in Top 100 worldwide theater list based on 2018 ticket sales
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From a press release:

Pollstar, the concert touring industry’s primary trade publication, has released its 2018 year-end reports, and the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts ranks No. 93 worldwide and No. 75 in the United States on its list of the Top 200 theaters based on worldwide ticket sales for the 2018 calendar year.

This marks the Kirby Center’s first-ever Top 100 finish and its highest year-end ranking in its 33 seasons as a performing arts center. The report also indicates that the downtown Wilkes-Barre venue sold a record 85,087 tickets in 2018, which is approximately 13,000 more than it sold in 2017, 26,000 more than in 2016, and nearly 33,000 more than in 2015.

“This growth is the result of a decision we made several years ago to be aggressive in booking the mainstream genres while remaining to true to our mission as a nonprofit 501c3 organization,” said Will Beekman, the Kirby Center’s executive director. “More impressively, it is the result of a small but passionate and hardworking staff.”

Among Pennsylvania theaters, the Kirby Center ranks behind just the Hershey Theater (No. 92), Philadelphia’s Merriam Theater (No. 83), Pittsburgh’s Stage AE (No. 62), and Philadelphia’s Academy of Music (No. 25).

Other Pennsylvania venues appearing on the Top 200 list include the Sands Bethlehem Event Center (No. 111), Reading’s Santander Performing Arts Center (No. 117), and Easton’s State Theatre Center for the Arts (No. 124).

“Seeing the Kirby Center’s name on this list, with ‘Wilkes-Barre, PA’ right next to it, makes us so proud and thankful to work in a supportive community,” added Anne Rodella, the venue’s director of sales and marketing.

The Kirby Center first broke into Pollstar’s Top 200 list in 2015 with a ranking of No. 114 before finishing at No. 109 in 2016 and No. 104 in 2017.

The top three slots on the 2018 year-end report belong to Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City, Mexico, New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, and Atlanta’s Fox Theatre.

This isn’t the first recognition the Kirby Center received this year. In June, Beekman was given the Innovator the Year Award by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce at the 2018 EPIC Awards, which he celebrated in a fun “Rocky” parody video:

Photo by Rich Howells/NEPA Scene