It is always exciting opening one of our rarities because there is such a great sense of discovery among the audience. Invariably, there is a period of contemplative unfamiliarity but as is so often the case, the brew begins to bubble and the music works it's magic. Can't wait.
Friday, 29 July 2011
Thursday, 14 July 2011
My suspicion is that 66 is a hell of a lot more than that.
To recap, we had applied for funding of our growing and brilliant Inspire Project. The ACE have five core criteria of which applicants should meet at least two. At worst, we met four of the five and at best, all of them. Because of the success of the project and because of plenty of match funding from donors, we felt it had a strong chance. When the assessor's report refusing the application arrived I was pretty flabbergasted to find that a great many of the reasons given for refusing the funding were attached to what were called "failures to provide information". This missing information included things like feedback, evidence of participation, of service user profiles etc.
Stunned, I called the assessor and expressed my surprise that she had obviously missed the very substantial annual report for the project that I had included with our application and which featured the data she required and much more besides. After a moment of perplexed silence (I swear I could hear her gulp) at the other end of the phone, she said she would call me back. Some time passed and she telephoned to insist that the document had not been uploaded. She added that in any case, it wouldn't have made a difference. I commented that having said the missing information was the reason for refusal, I found it surprising that HAD it been provided, we would still have been refused!
And that was that.
The news this morning will no doubt stir up much protest and the general approach from the ACE appears to be that none of this missing data would make any difference. A truly breathtaking statement in the circumstances.
One good thing comes out of it - my colleagues who probably thought I had mucked up the application can think again!
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
We introduced the telephone only system because the previous system of having them first available online, and then half online and half on the phone was unfair to those who did not have internet access. Given the nature of these tickets, it is entirely possible that some people taking advantage of them do not have access to the internet. We also stopped the ability of patrons to visit the box office since clearly those who live nearer have an advantage. Finally, we introduced caps on the number of tickets per person for the season. all of this is designed to make the Inspire tickets as fairly distributed as possible.
Clearly, people find the need to be on the telephone all day to be tiresome and we understand the frustration this causes but the demand is such that this would probably still be the case if we had 100 people on the telephones! Having said that, we are entirely unhappy that people have to spend so long on the phone and then run the risk of not being successful in acquiring tickets. If we could process calls more quickly that would be preferable then at least people havent wasted too much of their time and we recognise that.
But how to improve things? We will look at it again but be assured no matter what system we come up with, there will be many who will be dissappointed; with so many people wanting the Inspire seats that is inevitable. We have looked at postal ballot but that feels like a retrograde step and requires a lot of cost, effort on the part of patrons and a great deal more administration. Email ballot or internet forms would help that but would people be convinced of the fairness of ticket distribution? I am more than happy to listen to suggestions. Clearly, when offering several thousand seats at £12, there are going to be those who miss out but making it fair and easy is our primary goal.
feedback and suggestions can be sent to info(at) operahollandpark.com.