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First Impressions x 3

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First Impression Number One

Pleasance Press Launch. To the courtyard to pick up tickets for launch. Box Office. No. Information desk, no clue. Yes that’s right, the information desk had no clue as to where to pick up tickets and where the bar was distributing coffee to needy press people. Asked three more people, covering a distance of 2,.3 miles but eventually found one who was in on the secret. They did in fact know the press lunch was taking palace and more importantly, where the complimentary croissants were hidden.

First Impression Number Two

To The Hub to pick up International Festival tickets. Information desk at front desk. Disinterested young man, preoccupied, nose in a novel.(get a job at The Book Festival!). Eventually responded to an excuse me. Do I collect press tickets from the Box Office (long queue) or the Press Office? Just get in the queue for the Box Office. Ok, but at the Fringe, you generally pick up from the Press Office, This is not the Fringe, sir, this is the International Festival. Guess where you pick up press tickets from? – not the box office.

First Impression Number Three

Playhouse Theatre. Gospel at Colonus. House so dark that nobody can read their programmes without the aid of a super-trouper spotlight or more importantly , nobody can see the seat numbers. Matinee, elderly audience, many scrambling, sticks and magnifyers in hand, to find their seats or sitting in wrong seats. Come on, Ambassadors Theatre Group, push up the bulbs to at least 60 watts or, if the production sets the house lights at an impracticable level, tell them that won’t do and stick up for your customers.

First Impression, Number One, Second Impression: fourth staff member very helpful, nice reception, good press launch.

Second Impression, Number Two, Second Impression: very helpful, friendly, efficient press office

Third Impression, Number Three, Second Impression: a terrific show, friendly but overworked ushers

However, first impressions do count. But don’t blame the staff, blame the management. In the case of Number One and Number Two – better recruitment (smiley people), improved communication and increased training. And Number Three? - another 50p in the meter, Howard.

Now, I know that in the grand scheme, these are quite small, some may say, petty points (or is that French embroidery?). But it is those little irritations that get your day, or show, off to a bad start and that can’t be a good thing.

- Keith Paterson


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