OPINION: Access All Areas?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

We often receive requests when patrons are booking tickets for a private viewing of the Theatre. They want to check the distance to the stage or the angle of view for a certain seating area - and they are always disappointed when we say that we can’t usually allow them to do this. Here is why it is impractical for us to allow this access:

It is someone’s workplace.
The Theatre is full of people for the two hours or so that a performance is in session but the rest of the time it is a place of work. It is someone’s office. When you are at work you have an assigned area that is your workplace, where you conduct your business and go about your daily duties. For a number of Theatre staff The Joyce Schneider Auditorium is their office and workplace.

It is locked.
It is a large dark room with many stairs and the doors are always locked when not in use. This is both for your safety and to help reduce energy costs. Could you imagine if someone found their way into the dark auditorium and fell down the stairs? It could be hours or even days before they were found.

You must be escorted.
Because it is dark and has many stairs and is someone’s workplace, if you were to be allowed access you must complete a Workplace Health and Safety induction by a DRTCC staff member who would then escort you into the auditorium.

You’ll want to see and do more.
You’ll want to recite your favourite Molière quote or phantom of The Opera song at the front of the stage. You’ll want to see how the lights and sound are operated. You’ll want to see where Guy Sebastian and David Campbell had their after show party. And this would all have to be shown to you in between preparations for an actual performance.

It’s organised chaos.
Many things need to be modified, changed or tweaked for a performance. These include disassembling the lighting rig, flying scenery and moving props among a multitude of other things. The Theatre and dressing rooms must also be kept clean, so there may be mop buckets and vacuum cleaners on standby. We want to present the Venue in its best possible state when you see it and in between performances it is like a jigsaw puzzle before its assembled: a bit of a mess but full of promise.

Attendance is an experience.
The best impact is gained when attending a show, having ambient music in the background, air-conditioning to keep you comfortable, luxurious red velvet house curtain down, walking through the auditorium doors to the pre-show excitement of patrons and smelling freshly brewed coffee.

OPINION: The Theatre of Fashion

Saturday, August 04, 2012

I was sitting in my living room flipping through the pages of a local publication when I came across a set of images from people who have attended the theatre. These are the moments when a slightly shy photographer politely asks for a photo as bashful patrons awkwardly pose hoping that the Photoshop wizard will transform them into a Kate Beckinsale red carpet lookalike before the image goes to print.

As I gaze at the images one detail takes my interest. Many people, particularly those who have their photo taken, put a lot of thought into what they wear on a night out. However there are clearly those who would prefer to adorn their most comfortable ensemble and leave their formal wear at home. Either way, the scene that is set creates in itself a living tapestry of artwork. With the vastly varying outfits that adorn the pages it is hard to pinpoint a specific style. It is the kind of diversity that would cause Bill Cunningham to quickly run out of flash bulbs.

There once was a time when you would be tossed to the curb if you wore anything less than your finest garments and jewellery to the theatre but in the twenty-first century it has become perfectly acceptable to wear what you feel to be suitable and even more importantly comfortable. In many cases, including that of myself, this may mean simply jeans and a t-shirt.

The general unspoken courtesy is informal (one internet forum described it as “neat casual”) at matinees and semi-formal for evening performances. Appropriate attire may even be performance specific. You wouldn’t be expected to attend the Melbourne Comedy Festival dressed in your finest penguin suit but attendance at the Australian Ballet may demand something a little more special than acid wash jeans and an Aerosmith t-shirt.

When you are spending two hours sitting in relatively close proximity to a number of strangers you must be comfortable. As great as they look I am sure that high heels and a corset are not going to make you feel very comfortable.

Chicago’s Goodman Theatre says “you'll see all sorts of dress—from elegant cocktail attire to business casual to jeans. The rule of thumb is, wear what makes you feel most comfortable.”

The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway vaguely adds that attire should be “appropriate for the occasion.”

As a theatre society we must show that attending a performance does not need to be a special occasion, it should be accepted as part of your everyday life. A discussion amongst New York theatre regulars came to the conclusion that theatregoers “are entitled to not only a good performance, but an attractive audience.”

The audience is as much a part of the attraction as the performance itself. Arranged in the tiered seating as if they were jewellery on display in a shop window, the people who have paid to see a performance might as well be on show themselves.

“Most of the time, no one cares what you wear,” writes The Guardian’s Natasha Tripney, “and I can't see that as a bad thing. Surely it's liberating to go to the theatre in whatever you happen to have on: it's one less barrier between the art and the audience.”

When performing art has become a regular event it attracts many different types of characters. Despite the variances everyone has something in common. Everyone is there for a common purpose and with that comes their quirks, tastes and styles. While individually they may be nothing other than ordinary when they come together they form part of a larger performance art. One that, despite the high quality of performances gracing the stage, has become an event in itself.

OPINION: What's In A Name?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Confident with the English language? The difference between two simple words has a few confused people waiting for live artistic performances in Riverdale and asking for 3D glasses at DRTCC.

A “theatre” is primarily a live performing arts venue with a stage for such. Movies are occasionally shown in theatres on a drop down screen creating the term “movie theatre”. But films are not their primary purpose. A venue where the primary purpose is to show movies is called a “cinema”, where there is a fixed screen. But cinemas don’t stage performing arts because there is no stage.

the.a.tre [thee-uh-ter]
noun
1. a building designed for the performance of plays, operas, etc
From the Latin theātrum and from the Greek theatron meaning "a place for viewing"
Example: Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre

cin.e.ma [sin-uh-muh]
noun
1. a place designed for the exhibition of films
From the French cinéma, shortened from cinématographe, meaning "a movie hall"
Example: Reading Cinemas

So, a cinema shows movies but not live performances and therefore is not a theatre. A theatre can stage live performances and show movies but is still not a cinema.

OPINION: Would You Like To Answer That?

Saturday, June 02, 2012

There are now more mobile phone devices in the world than there are people. They are literally being used everywhere. At work and school, while driving and having lunch, on the international space station and in theatres.

Recently, Hugh Jackman famously interrupted his performance during a dramatic scene in A Steady Rain to “allow” a theatre-goer to answer their phone which had been ringing loudly during the show. The patrons clearly didn’t get the message as only a few minutes later Jackman’s co-star Daniel Craig gave the same “allowance” to another patron. And when you have James Bond and Wolverine taking on inconsiderate members of general public those people should be very afraid.

You may think that it is not a big deal and that reports are vastly overstated. However, in New York theatre chairs are being armed with buttons similar to those on aeroplanes that allow patrons to alert ushers and remove disruptive people. In the UK many theatres have introduced fines to audience members who have interrupted the performance. Some venues have even started issuing bans for repeat offenders.

DRTCC ushers have a great trick when they spot a bright screen amongst the audience. They will stand at the end of the aisle giving the offender the hairy eye-ball, making all others in the aisle fixate on the offender. You may think that they are “just an usher” but they in fact have the power to refuse you entry or remove you from the performance. Actually, according to the Live Performance Australia guidelines they have the authority to refuse you entry if you are found repeatedly using your mobile phone as it is considered a recording device.

What is unique about DRTCC is that we hold all types of events under one very vast roof and therefore must create a set of guidelines that maintain a high level of comfort for all patrons and performers across all types of shows.

On the street or at home your mobile phone seems to be relatively low key, right? You can check your messages, finish a few levels of Angry Birds and tweet about One Direction without anyone even noticing. But take that small, seemingly unobtrusive light and put it in a dark room. Suddenly that light is magnified a hundred times and can be noticed from all corners of the auditorium.

We must all remember that not only have 499 other people paid hard earned money for their tickets, we have paid hard earned money for our tickets too. Why would anyone want to miss out on a piece of a live performance that we have specifically chosen and paid to see? This is a night out that we have selected. Are we willing to interrupt that experience for a few moments in front of a screen that may make you public enemy number one in the eyes of those 499 other attendees? That’s right. When we text in a dark auditorium everyone behind us can see that little screen too. Even the sound and lighting operators can see that screen. They can see everything that is typed into the text message. In fact, with a bright screen directly in their line of sight they have trouble seeing anything else.

Theatres employ a range of technical equipment that produce sound and lighting effects for a performance that can also receive transmissions coming and going from your phone. Have you ever driven through Sydney listening to the radio and noticed the constant regular buzzing? It is your phone receiving signal transmissions. This is the same effect your phone has on the Theatre’s technical equipment. The sound technician trying to monitor the sound levels will hear this magnified through their headset. Other backstage and front of house staff who use radio transmitters to communicate will also receive this irritating signal through their communication devices. Even when you silence your phone these signals are still transmitted and still affect the theatre equipment.

These rules are not just limited to the use of mobile phones as a distraction for other patrons. The use of cameras and recording devices is of an even higher restriction. A ringing phone is distracting and highly objectionable, but the flash from a camera is in a different league for a number of reasons.

A camera flash can directly affect the performer’s sight. Do you remember having your family portrait taken as a kid and staggering around for the rest of the day with a bright light in your vision, burnt on your sight? Imagine attempting to carry on a dramatic scene once that has happened.

The prohibition of photography is not only a DRTCC rule, taking photos of what legal people call “intellectual property” in many cases can be a breach of the copyright law. The writers, artists and producers amongst others have worked countless hours to come up with what you see on stage. In short, those who created it may legally own it. And when you take a photo of their creation you are making a copy of a work of art. “The scenery is intellectual property, much like a book, or a song. While you may not be doing anything nefarious with your snapshots, if they end up on the web, that visual information is available to anyone with a quick Google search, and the designs can essentially be stolen” says 2011 Tony Award nominee Beowulf Boritt. We want you to be able to enjoy as much theatre as possible and if you take photos during a show we will be cranky with you and the artists and crew will be cranky with you. You may not be allowed back into theatre so that would make you cranky with us. We don’t want any of that, so to quote something that everyone’s mother has told them at some point in their lives, “we are doing it for your own good”.

Singer and composer Trish Causey said in her article on mobile phones in theatres that “the simplest, and, in fact, only solution is to turn your phone off”. There are few reasons why it is absolutely necessary that you need your phone to be turned on at all times. At the theatre there is even a pre-defined period of time that you are allowed to have your phone ring, reply to messages and missed calls and catch up on all latest Twitter trends. We call it intermission. If everyone allowed their fellow theatre-lovers this simple courtesy Hugh Jackman would have been able to complete another brilliant Broadway performance uninterrupted, everyone could save an hour and a half of their phone’s battery life and you could have spent the last 10 minutes reading James Eddy’s brilliant scientific opinions instead of my apparently-becoming-an-old-man ravings about our priceless patrons using annoying electronic devices.

OPINION: The Quirky Politics of Buying Tickets

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Patrons can display many quirky qualities when buying theatre tickets. For example, there seems to be very few leaders when large bookings are being made. The process for decision making during a group booking purchase is like old-fashioned democracy. No decision is made based on one person’s opinion. Every choice is stated before the group and voted on with a majority rules result. At times it is also not unlike an election campaign. One person may prefer their seat on the aisle, while another wants their seat in the middle of the row. Others in the group who are impartial are immediately subjected to a persuading process where they are convinced to display their affections towards seating in the middle or at the end of a row. Once their decision has been swayed either way, the votes are counted and a decision is made, once again, on a majority rules result.

Another interesting observation is when a husband and wife purchase tickets together. It is most commonly the wife who approaches the counter. Generally husbands will keep their distance or feign mild interest at the brochure stand, apparently afraid of the interaction. If their wife hesitates to move toward the counter, husbands will gently usher their partner towards the counter in an encouraging gesture. This apparent reprieve from human contact and any decision making duties is met with obvious relief as they follow behind their wife to the counter, ever so slowly reaching for their wallet in the back pocket hoping she may change her mind or the show is sold out before he has to produce the dough. Always staying just out of direct sight, he pretends to be interested in something in the corner of the room, and replies to any questions regarding seating preference with a simple and polite “Wherever you’d like to sit”.

On the odd occasion when the husband is sent to buy the tickets and he arrives alone, a precursor such as “I think...”, “My wife said...” or “That show that’s on...” is common in alerting others to his point of discontent that he has been required to perform the dubious task of purchasing theatre tickets. I imagine it would be a similar reaction displayed if he were to be sent to buy bright pink glitter nail polish.

OPINION: The Language of Ticketing

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Prior to the Theatre opening the only live performance many have ever witnessed is their child’s tantrum when they are served broccoli for dinner. But now that professional performing arts are part of the region’s everyday lifestyle, it’s important that you knew a little more about how ticketing for a performance works.

al•lo•cate  [al-uh-keyt]
verb
1. to set apart for a particular purpose; assign or allot

Seating at any live performance venue is dependent on the seating allocation given to the ticketing agent (that’s us!) by the event promoter. Just as though you were hosting a barbeque in your yard, the promoter has the privilege to admit whoever they want. At your barbeque you can save a seat right next to the esky for your mate and his family, your VIPs. At a show, the promoter saves seats for their VIPs too. Their VIPs may be the media who have helped promote the event or the marketing team that has designed posters and television commercials. If the promoter didn’t employ the resources of these VIPs there would be a great chance that no one would find out about the event, so they provide an invaluable service. If, at the last minute you hear that your mate can’t make it to the barbecue this week, being that it is your barbecue you have the right to either save that seat for your second best friend or let someone else sit there. This is where allocation plays a part.

While a majority of seats are open for general public sales, a few are also held, or allocated, for the promoter and sponsors. These allocations are set amounts outlined in the hiring contract and usually their attendance is not finalised until just days before the event. So, if all the general public seats have been sold and a few days before the show the promoter decides that some of their VIPs can’t attend, they may then release these tickets for sale to you – the general public. This is why a show that has been declared sold out suddenly shows available seating. In city venues, instead of saying that available tickets have been sold out they use the term “allocation exhausted” when seats have been sold but the promoter still has seat allocations remaining.

pur•chase [pur-chuhs]
verb (used with object)
1. to acquire by the payment of money or its equivalent; buy.

When you want something, you must offer something else of equal value in exchange, that’s how commerce has been for thousands of years. Only, unfortunately, we can’t trade chickens and beans for goods and services anymore.

If we were to offer seat reservations without up-front payments, this would open the proverbial floodgates. It would mean that you would be well within your rights to reserve a seat to every single performance. If just five hundred people did this, there would be no seats available, no tickets left to sell. Yet no income would have been generated from sales because there were no sales, only reservations. None of these people would have to attend the shows, they have made no commitment to, but you would have missed out on your opportunity to see the show.

re•fund [ri-fuhnd, ree-fuhnd]
verb (used with object)
1. to give back or restore (especially money)

It is for a comparable reason that we don’t offer refunds. In fact, the entire industry doesn’t offer refunds. It’s part of the code of conduct and guidelines that Live Performance Australia, a third-party, sets for the industry. If you buy a ticket for Love Never Dies and tried to get a refund from Ticketmaster you would receive the same response to a refund request from DRTCC. Again, everyone could buy a ticket to every single performance and then later decide that they don’t want to attend and simply apply for a refund each time.

Having said that, management does reserve the right to offer a refund under exceptional circumstances and the request needs to be in writing, then approved, then processed – most often the patron prefers to pass on the ticket to a friend or family member rather than wait for a refund to be processed.

OPINION: When Common Courtesy Takes A Back Seat

Saturday, April 07, 2012

There is an issue that has somewhat divided DRTCC patrons. An issue that affects everyone who attends a show at the Theatre. From the comments we receive from patrons, it is an issue that appears to be as controversial as climate change or marriage equality. It is something that many believe impacts on their freedom and discourages their pursuit of happiness. Something that has received requests to re-design the Theatre, involving substantial construction work and great expense. But, what will it take to resolve this issue once and for all? Is it a matter of fact or simply a matter of opinion (which we know are two vastly different things)?

So far, the twenty-first century has given us very little in the way of human progression. If anything, society has taken a number of backwards steps from the peak of the nineties (although, this too is open to opinion). Few people are willing to help each other, even to the point that if someone does offer their fellow person a hand, it is perceived as extraordinary. Courtesy has been largely forgotten due to the speed in which we live our lives. Even a simple “please” or “thank-you” has become something of folklore.

This issue has come from you, the people. Twenty-first century society. Following every performance we receive a number of comments from those who have been in attendance. The opinion seems to be that there is not enough leg room in the Theatre.

Patrons have offered a number of solutions to this concern. One being that a centre aisle be established. Disregarding the professional advice that no centre aisle is legally required for up to 120 seats in a row (ever been to a stadium?) and that The Joyce Schneider Auditorium would lose at least 70 seats (the best seats in the house as they would be centrally located), substantially increasing ticket prices, it would cost Dubbo ratepayers a considerable amount to remove the seating and establish the centre aisle.

So, let me ask you this question: do you sigh excessively and object when other patrons try to get past you while you stay seated in your seat? Do you refuse to allow them the politeness that you would expect if you were in the same situation? There are two apparent sides to this issue. On one side are those who don’t like having to stand every time someone wants to get past them. On the other side are those who hate when they have to struggle past people who refuse to stand to allow easier access. I’m sure most of you have seen the issue from one of these perspectives and many of you from both.

Now, I don’t know how long your legs are, but I am sure you are no Robert Wadlow (the tallest person in recorded history). Myself, I am no short spout. My height is in excess of six feet and I have not once had an uncomfortable experience sitting in the Theatre seats. There is room to cross your legs. There is a little room to stretch. But having said that, the Theatre is not a lounge room. At DRTCC you get a similar Theatre experience to that offered at the Sydney Opera House. Those who have been to that venue will remember that there is no centre aisle and that their seats are spaced apart comparably to those in The Joyce Schneider Auditorium.

To add to my case I often attend the Theatre with my seventy-something year old grandmother and she has never once commented that the seating is in any way uncomfortable or inhibiting.

Courtesy is holding a door open for someone who is entering behind you. Offering to make a cup of tea for someone else when you are making one for yourself. And standing politely to let someone past when they have a little further to walk to get to their seat. Even if it means standing two, three, four or more times. When my seat is toward the end of a row, I have never once had a problem politely standing to let someone else through to their seat. Actually, I enjoy the social interaction with the passer-by. After all, a stranger is just a friend you are yet to meet. And to the other 15 people who also need to get by to find their seat I extend the same courtesy. I’m sure that you would expect this gesture when you are standing at the end of a full row trying to get to your spot in the middle.

So you see, this issue has nothing to do with the way the Theatre is designed. If there was more leg room you may say that there was too much room to we could’ve added more seats. Dubbo City Council, and for that matter all building contractors around Australia, have strict building regulations and codes to which they must adhere. It was not something that was scribbled on a restaurant napkin without much thought. Many venues were inspected, including the Sydney Theatre Company at Walsh Bay, prior to even coming up with a design for The Joyce Schneider Auditorium. I wonder if the staff of Sydney Theatre Company ever have their patrons commenting on the state of their seating?

A theatre experience is commonly prefaced with the line “sit back, relax and enjoy the show”. But for a public setting I think that line should be amended to acknowledge the social interaction that forms a large part of attending a performance. So, the next time you come to a show, remember this line instead: “come together, meet, greet and enjoy the experience”.

OPINION: What value do you place on creativity?

Friday, March 02, 2012

DRTCC prides itself on pitching ticket prices at an affordable price to bring in the audiences to fill the seats. The art of negotiation comes with having 30 years experience in the industry! But there are two ways in the end process that ticket prices come into being. For the shows that DRTCC lures to Dubbo, we set the ticket prices based on how much the show costs to include in our Season. Other shows that are added during the year come after a show’s promoter contacts Theatre management. The promoter then sets the ticket price based on what they believe they can reasonably charge, which as you may well know, can be anything up to $70.00 and beyond. Some of you may still be scratching your scalp thinking “what the?” Well, here is an insight into the ticketing framework.

There is a guy who many believe has a great job some would say "the best job in the world". He works very hard doing what he does, but where you and I get paid based on the number of hours we work, his income is dependent on the success his creative work achieves. In the beginning, he was working 14 hour days and not getting paid anything. The body of work he was creating was more like an investment. He could create this work, or "investment", now and if he found success the investment would pay off later. He couldn't afford the luxuries that you and I can at the end of our working day, so he also needed a paying job, in addition to the 14 hours a day he was already working.

As he worked harder and harder at his "investment" he started finding that others liked what he did and began offering him money so that they could also enjoy his work. He was getting paid, but still not enough to earn a decent living, so on top of him presenting his work for others, he also needed to maintain his 14 hour a day "investment" to increase the possibility that more people would like his work.

When you go to see a performance, I imagine that many of you have never given much thought to exactly how much work goes into getting that performance from being an idea in someone's head to being a live experience on-stage. Entertainment seems to have become something that many people take for granted. Because we feel a need to be entertained we assume that it is something that we have a right to enjoy on demand. The term ‘dance monkey, dance’ comes to mind.

But the point of view changes when you consider that the actors, producers, technical staff, writers and the countless others it takes to create a body of work are simply performing duties from their day job. The same as you do when you go to the office every morning. They must earn a living just like anybody else. Just like you, they live in a house, eat food, drink water, use electricity, watch television and drive cars. They have children, wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, dogs, cats, fish and birds. They enjoy reading, taking photos, watching movies and hanging out with friends. They shop for groceries and new jeans. And just like you do, they need to pay for it all. That’s why they have a job.

It’s common knowledge that in the twenty-first century, artists no longer earn their income by recording CDs or releasing videos. Their income is generated from touring. So those countless 14 hour days are not worth anything unless they are performing their work on stage.  It has taken many current professional performers ten years or more to become an ‘overnight’ success.

But even for a one person show, there is a creative process that could involve, at a minimum, 50 other people - just to get one guy and a microphone onstage. And in addition to the performer, all those people also need to be paid and paid enough to afford what they need to survive.

Every live touring performance has a price tag based on the amount of time it has taken to create that performance, in the same way that a car has a price tag. The better quality a car is, the more expensive it is to create and therefore the more expensive it is to buy.

If you would like to buy a Ferrari but can't afford it, is it worth complaining that it is too expensive? Or do you purchase something that is closer to what you can afford? Keep in mind that Ferrari doesn't care that you are on a pension. Their workers have mouths to feed and houses to keep - just like you do. When a live performance is purchased, the cost is obviously passed on to those who would like to enjoy that performance - those who buy the tickets.

If a ticket to the Theatre costs $70.00 it means that in the time it has taken to get the performance to you, on stage in the Theatre, $70.00 is how much it has cost to create. With a little added on so that everyone who worked on that performance can feed themselves.

Keep this all in mind the next time you query a high ticket price. Just ask yourself, “Would I invest so much of my time, talent and effort for no immediate payment?” Creative people can’t offer to do it for ‘love’.

Even a $70 ticket doesn't sound so expensive now, does it?

OPINION: The Joy of Selling Tickets

Thursday, February 02, 2012

For most patrons, purchasing a ticket to the Theatre is quite simple. Visit the Box Office, select your show, trade your money for a ticket then wait for the performance day to come around. But for others it seems to be an undertaking more akin to delivering a gold ring into Mordor.

It's not only enough that you choose a performance to see; one must consider the exact angle to which available seating faces the stage and how many steps it will take to reach the row. What about the extra 3 millimetres of leg room in Row G compared to Row D? Seemingly, the planets must be in alignment. A butterfly flapping its wings in Nagasaki will ultimately determine if this is going to be an enjoyable show...or not.

Then come show day, an agenda is set to dispute the "high ticket prices" and lack of a centre aisle, completely ignoring the fact that last weekend when you saw a show at the Sydney Opera House it cost $200 for the ticket alone and their rows of seating, double the length of the seating in The Joyce Schneider Auditorium, also had no centre aisle.

But, of course, like a very special few of our patrons, I am being over-dramatic.

Developing a positive culture surrounding a new multi-million dollar performing arts venue in a culture-starved environment of Dubbo was always going to be a challenge and negative opinions are always a given. For the staff of DRTCC, the Theatre is part of our being and every comment directed at the Theatre is taken personally. There is no more apparent sign of this than on the front line, the trenches of customer service – The Box Office.

Box Office staff are the face of a Theatre. When there is no other representation, they are always present. Immune to bad days and mood swings. Happy to take your comments on board and pay particular attention to those expressing constructive criticism.

The interaction is not only limited to personal contact. Box Office staff are also responsible for
management of DRTCC's online communication resources. You like us on Facebook, you follow us on Twitter and you Google us at drtcc.com.au.

They see your excitement when you arrive in the foyer on performance night. They see you smile when you meet your friends. They share your experience when you think no one is with you.

All about selling tickets, they are not. Box Office staff manage a list of daily duties that makes being a housewife seem mundane. While waiting for the next eager patron, they are responding to email enquiries, compiling performance information for media sources and running any number of statistical reports for the Mayor, General Manager, Director, Manager, Coordinator and local media.

They are using graphics programs, HTML code and extensive customer databases to write, design and distribute email marketing campaigns. They design PowerPoint displays for corporate promotions and create membership cards, event invitations and show programs.

And all this happens while you are trying to find your credit card in your wallet.

Overall, people are excited when they buy tickets to a show that they have been looking forward to. Most are just happy to be there and sharing the experience with friends, family and workmates.

Every patron who walks into the foyer is different. The saying goes, if you asked one hundred
people a true/false question, you would get one hundred different answers. You wouldn't think that buying a ticket to a show would mean finding a solution to a multitude of variables. When you factor in your mother-in-law who can't walk up stairs, your daughter who will only sit in the back row, your son who wants to sit on his own, your third cousin in town for the weekend who needs to sit on an aisle seat and your husband who would rather sit at the bar, the equation can get quite complicated.

When you consider that just two years ago many people in Dubbo had never stepped inside a theatre and those who had needed to travel for the opportunity, you realise why we send media releases every time we reach a ticket sales milestone. It has taken a lot of work to change the opinions and attitudes of so many people in such a short period of time.

The role of Theatre staff is not only to accommodate great performances. It is to educate potential theatre-goers of the benefits of theatre and to cement DRTCC into the everyday lifestyle of Dubbo and the region.