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19th century playhouse / 21st century Brand (that’s Russell Brand)

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I think we did a world record today…or at least I know I hit a PB (to use the abbreviation I am only getting used to with the Paralympics).  The time it takes to sell out a show, using as a starting point the moment it is confirmed in the diary as an event – record personal best in the team event of 160minutes.

Today (Monday) we had a call from Russell Brand’s office to see whether he could do a gig at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. The catch was he wanted to do it on Wednesday before flying back to LA.  At around 3.30 we had sorted out the fact we could pull back the tec team from holidays to clear the Summer School set, we could gather enough volunteers to staff the event, and we believed we could get the show on the system and ready to sell by 4pm.  We managed to email 10,000 e-newsletter subscribers, all our Patrons and Sponsors, and to use twitter to reach our followers, and their followers.  By 6pm the show was sold out – around half the tickets sold over the internet and a half by personal arrival and telephone.
So on Wednesday we will welcome Mr Brand for a show in aid of the amazing Focus 12 charity in Bury St Edmunds, of which he is a Patron. 

We are now trying to see whether he might possibly be available to meet the cast of Mansfield Park who will be doing an in-costume dance rehearsal on Wednesday before moving into our 19th century playhouse to prepare for our new production. We think there could be some great photos (and maybe even TV) to help the show and the national tour if he might be up for it.  We can but ask.

Its amazing what a small family/management team can make happen when the challenge is there. The Theatre Royal has an immense advantage over theatres within massive chains, or corporate management structure. The box office, the marketing & press team, the development team, finance, computer and web management, and the executive are all in one house. A quick call down the corridor, and a lightening opening of a packet of biscuits, and decisions can be made fast.

And there’s a rather wonderful energy rush when, alongside the 6 month campaign to launch Mansfield Park (1st performance 13th Sept prior to national tour), we can drop everything and deliver a full house in a few hours.
When we occasionally wonder whether our customers, the social media followers and the press are “listening” to our messages and promotion;  this is a shot in the arm to know that they will hear our call if they are interested in hearing.   

And we sold another good number of panto tickets and Mansfield Park tickets on line and on the phone today as well….book now to avoid disappointment.

We look forward to Wednesday night and cheering Focus 12 and Mr Brand


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