The number of visitors to the county’s main theatre and libraries have increased by tens of thousands.

Shropshire Council has revealed that 12,000 more people visited Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn in the first quarter of this year compared with the same time last year.

And in the same timeframe, 15,000 more visits were made to libraries – which are currently under consultation – than last year.

The news has been welcomed by cabinet member for culture, Councillor Lezley Picton, who said she was thrilled with the work of all staff.

She said: “Naturally I am delighted with the increased attendances at Theatre Severn and an increase in users at our libraries. 

“This is testament to the hard work and dedication shown by staff across the culture and leisure team. 

“I see the commitment on a daily basis but it is good to see it being acknowledged at the next cabinet meeting.”

A report to the cabinet, which is meeting next Wednesday says there have been a number of sell-out performances at the theatre.

Tom Dodds, intelligence and insight manager, said: “The number of patrons at Theatre Severn has continued to increase with the rolling annual attendance for Q1 2019/20 increasing by 6.5 per cent to over 200,000, 20 per cent up on the five year average. 

“A total of 202,679 patrons attended in the year to June 2019 compared to 190,429 in the year to June 2018. 

“The increase can be attributed to a number of sell out productions, and the theatre is attracting more big touring shows than ever before to Shrewsbury. 

“The theatre was awarded a What’s On Readers Award, and also gold in the Shrewsbury Mayor’s Award for the tourism category.

“The libraries continue to work hard to continue to increase visitor numbers following a long-term decrease. 

“Visitor numbers for Q1 2019/20 were 915,800 compared to 900,461 at Q1 2018/19.”

Mr Dodds said a range of new services had encouraged people to libraries.

He added: “The library service continues to develop new services and initiatives to encourage use of its facilities and online materials. 

“Usage of the cloudLibrary e-book system has doubled to over 24,000 loans and the e-audio has quadrupled to over 4,800 loans. 

“Over 1,000 new users have registered for the cloudLibrary service. 

“There has also been increased usage of the RB Digital e-magazines with over 26,000 issues read and also with Press Reader with over 16,000 e-magazines and enewspapers read.”

Shropshire Council is currently holding a consultation into the future of libraries – with potential changes to the three-tier system.