Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Bah Humbug

3rd January 2007

The first proper day back after the Christmas and New Year holidays became something of a half-hearted affair since I had my two children with me. I was in the office long enough to exchange a few words with James (producer) who recounted a Worst Christmas Ever story involving an obstreperous oyster and a Christmas Eve that sounded not a little like The Night of the Living Dead. I think we were all glad to be returning to something resembling normality. I am sure James was. Christmas comes at an inopportune moment for us at OHP. It’s very much like the lovable but weird uncle who turns up at your house unexpectedly just as you are about to tackle wallpapering the ceiling; you are pleased to see him; there are moments of levity and pleasure but you simply want to get on with the decorating.

It is about now that the season suddenly and mercilessly begins to loom large on the horizon. It has been a devilishly busy and awkward autumn what with the acquisition of the new canopy and seating facilities (a project still not concluded but not far off). The process of buying the new theatre is one of those projects that so consumes you, with the paperwork, the reports, the negotiations, that often you forget what it all means. Pregnancy is like that and I rather think the first night of the season will be a bit of a shock. Quite apart from the physical changes to the site and stage, there is the small matter of having 200 more seats per evening to sell (what happened to the pregnancy analogy? Ed). James has been contemplating a two-year plan for the first time and we are trying to assimilate a new events officer. Now, as the quicksand period of Christmas begins to vanish behind us there are a plethora of deadlines and milestone events that seem to act like a rope, drawing the first night of the new season towards us with ominous rapidity. It is about now that we begin to finalise materials to send to the Friends so that they can book their tickets. Sixteen thousand tickets will be sold by the middle of February. There is nothing like the surge of hope and expectation such a block of tickets represents to galvanise you. James has almost completed the casting for the season, which is something of a miracle given the normal schedule, and there are only the last few roles to fill now. And then all hell breaks loose for the production department.

We also have some serious new sponsors to take care of. Korn/Ferry have happily, detailed a person with whom I have a good relationship to marshal their sponsorship from their end. It will make life so much easier. I had an email from them today advising me that there were a couple of spelling mistakes in a draft article I had written so they won't be missing a trick. It can only be good for us all and an exciting three years beckons.

So it's onto the sales push both of tickets and of the all-important hospitality element that brings much needed additional income. It's not easy; the wind is howling and the rain is falling and we start to ask thousands of people to contemplate sitting in the outdoors. I think even we have trouble with that one.

1 comment:

Gert said...

Great to see this: hope you keep it up!