Morrison Center Ranked #1 University Presenter in the Nation

February 9, 2015 – Boise, Idaho: The Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts ranked #1 University Presenter in the nation for 2014 by Venues Today for theatres with a capacity of 5,000 seats or less in the February 2015 edition. The designation is based total gross box office receipts. Gross Box Office Receipts for the period (December 1, 2013 – November 11, 2014) were approximately $6 million for over 100 public performances and an attendance of nearly 115,000 patrons. The top five universities included:

  1. Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, Boise Idaho-Boise State University (2,037 seats)
  2. Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center, Midland, Texas-University of Texas (1,819 seats)
  3. Wharton Center for the Performing Arts, East Lansing, Michigan-Michigan State (3,763 seats)
  4. Indiana University Auditorium, Bloomington (3,200 seats)
  5. Lied Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Nebraska-University of Nebraska (2,172 seats)

Venues Today is the leading source of original reporting for live entertainment and events, serving management, owners and suppliers of music, sports and meeting venues internationally.

The Morrison Center was host to many productions throughout the 2014 season, including the Fred Meyer Broadway in Boise Series, local art performances, university student productions, and national touring comedy shows and concerts.

“The Morrison Center is a valuable part of the world-class experience to be found across the Boise State University campus,” President Bob Kustra said. “It is no wonder that much like our ground-breaking research, our student successes and our innovative spirit, the rest of the country is taking notice.”
Executive Director, James Patrick was interviewed by Venues Today. When asked about the biggest factor for success in 2014, he answered, “Programming, programming, programming! After that it’s all about providing great customer service and a unique patron experience.”

“The 2014 Season was extremely successful-the most successful in the Center’s history” said Patrick. “Our Fred Meyer Broadway In Boise series included an unprecedented 24 performances of WICKED in 19 days. Close to 40,000 patrons alone attended this engagement. We have some very strong presenting partners, including MagicSpace Entertainment, that play an important role in our overall activity level. We are excited about continuing to reach new heights. The Founders of the Morrison Center wanted our venue to be known as ‘The Peoples’ Theatre’. As more and more Idahoans and patrons from neighboring states visit us, we are fulfilling that mission.”

When asked what the benefits and challenges are associated with a university facility Patrick responded: “We are honored to be a part of the University setting. The University infrastructure not only allows us to be efficient, but also to provide great services. It also adds to our cache as a center for the performing arts. In recent years, Boise State University has focused on its ‘Beyond the Blue’ campaign, meaning that there is more to Boise State than its unique blue football field. I’d like to think that being ranked as the #1 University Top Stop in the nation supports the level of excellence and innovation for which our University is known.”

In January, Venues Today ranked the Center in the top 5 theatre venues for its category for the entire Pacific Northwest region. Another national publication, Pollstar Magazine, ranked the Center in the top 100 theatres for world-wide ticket sales for the 2014 calendar year. The Center was also cited as a key amenity for the City of Boise in Money Magazine’s 2014 ranking of five best places to retire.

Overall, as many as 130,000 patrons flow through Center’s doors on a given year for as many as 200 bookings (public events, rehearsal dates, etc.) Gross box office receipts and other revenues can exceed $8 million annually.
Other highlights from Patrick’s interview with Venues Today include:

-What were some other highlights of the past year?

We are always looking for new ways to be efficient in providing our products and services. This year we converted approximately 1,200 of our lighting fixtures and lamps to LEDs. The project cost approximately $150,000. It was fully funded by the Center. An incentive grant from Idaho Power for approximately 10% of the total cost is pending approval. We estimate that we are going from using 188,000 kwh to 28,000 kwh. This is not only good for the environment, but also good for lowering operating expenses. As a not-for-profit organization it is essential that we send the right message to our constituents.

In addition, we revamped our website and converted it to a “responsive” WordPress format. Now it is easily viewable on mobile devices and more patron-friendly. With 80%-90% percent of our sales being secured online, it was essential to upgrade the website. We are always trying to find new ways to provide access and opportunity to our patrons. This not only comes in the form of affordable ticket pricing, but also having an accessible website. Mobile is a part of our future and the Center’s website is our storefront. With so many different arts and culture offerings, we have a diverse constituent base. That said, one marketing channel remains constant with all of them. We continue to reach patrons of all ages via social media and the Internet.

-Anything else new this year? Anything you changed or did differently that had an impact?

We are always working to increase and improve relationships with promoters, agents and our resident companies, as well as our overall positioning in the community. At the end of the day, we are in the customer service industry. A wise board member once told me that a theatre’s mantra should be, “to be easy to do business with.” That has always stuck with me.

-What are you most looking forward to for 2015?

We have a lot of great shows on the horizon, but in July of 2015 we will be presenting THE BOOK OF MORMON for the first time for 8 performances.

Click here for the KTVB story regarding the 2014 season.

Located on the campus of Boise State University, the 2,037-seat Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts is Idaho’s premier performing arts center. Nestled on the banks of the Boise River, with a panoramic view of the city, parks and foothills, the Center’s 10-story stage house is a recognizable fixture of the Capitol’s picturesque skyline. The realization of a life-long dream of Harry W. Morrison, and championed by his widow, Velma, the Center opened its doors on April 7, 1984. Today the Center is recognized as a major destination for arts and culture, annually hosting hundreds of live entertainment and arts education offerings that serve to enrich the lives of patrons of all ages. As a Boise State affiliate, the Center is a non-profit organization supported by ticket sales, facility rentals, donations and the generous support of the Morrison Center Endowment Foundation, Inc. For more information on our programs, or to find out how you can play an active role in our ongoing success as a donor or volunteer, please visit us at:

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