It happens every year; we open the online bookings and for the first hour carnage ensues. Irritating as it is, it is sometimes sheer weight of traffic but the hackles do go up when those who support us technically always act surprised at the volume. A few issues came up yesterday that were a first for us although those same techies tell us that none of this is new - of course not. Well readers of this blog and followers of my Twitter made their feelings known and gave us the odd heads up. New systems are in the pipeline. At one point we had three different servers in different parts of the world suffering the screaming hab dabs for one reason or another. Eventually we opened the phones. Several thousand tickets were sold yesterday alone. Hard hats and saline drips have been prepared for Monday. St Johns Ambulance might have to be in attendance too.
One obvious cause of the rush is the ten pound ticket allocation. Hardly surprising. A couple of thousand went on sale online yesterday and had gone within the blink of an eye. Another couple of thousand go on sale on Monday via the phone (not everybody has online access) and no doubt others will be disappointed. It is frustrating that we cannot give more - Dannii Minogue still hasn't sent the cheque (see earlier blog post if that confuses you). The temptation is to start restricting how many one person can buy of these tickets and perhaps we will look at a booking period just for ten pound seats, stagger their release etc. Making it as fair as possible for everybody is the real challenge.
I am working on a scheme whereby companies and donors can contribute units of money to specifically subsidise further blocks of ten pound seats....more anon. My personal aim is to get up to ten thousand seats at £10 in the season. These would be spread evenly across the six for the first five thousand seats as they are now and then donors could decide what productions they would like to enable people to see. Obviously we need to work out details but watch this space. It might take a while to get to that golden figure of 10,000 but don't bet against us getting there. We will need a better box office system though!