I have worked with Theatre Westminster as the House and Box Office Manager since the Spring of 2015 and for the first time since, we were forced to run a show without a ticketing system. Since I started this position we have used the ticketing system called Tixato. This past summer Tixato closed which meant that we needed to find a new system. Terry had done research upon research trying to find a system that would work best for us. We hoped for something that ran similarly to Tixato, but also a system that did not charge a lot of money to use. By the time that we found one that would work well for us, it was too late.
No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre opened on Thursday, October 6th and we did not have a ticketing system. It was not until earlier that day that we even decided how we were going to give tickets at all. We knew that we were going to be doing open seating and we had set up a form to allow for reservations, but we tend to get a lot of walk-ins.
We did not have much of an option for tickets so we had to improvise. Terry found some blank tickets and we wrote “NE” on every single ticket. I would come early to approximate how many I would need and I would write on them as I waited for the ushers to show up for the evening.
Our system felt chaotic and unorganized, and it was much more stressful than having an actual ticketing system. Though I had never taken Tixato for granted, I was definitely missing it for this show. Having a ticketing system makes things easier for both the audience and us. The system allows the audience to go online and pay for their tickets as well as choose the seats that are most ideal to them. When people do this, they are able to print their tickets so that they do not even need to stop in at the box office. If they choose not to print their tickets at home, then they would come to the box office and tell me their name and I am able to print their tickets for them.
Tixato also made the use of comp tickets much easier for the cast and crew. Everybody gets two comp tickets per show. With Tixato we had been able to let the cast and crew members put the comp reservations in the system and tell whomever was using them to let us know what name they were under. Since we did not have this luxury for No Exit, I ran into problems not knowing who people were and whether or not they were supposed to have comp tickets.
Overall, the show went on as it must. Being that it was Homecoming weekend we did not have quite the turnout that we were hoping for, but we still did fairly well. We have since got our new ticketing system almost ready to go for the upcoming show. I cannot wait to get the new system completely ready as I’m sure it will help the process run smoothly again.