The collapse of the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company has hit presenting organizations, as phone calls pour in from patrons who have confused the theatre company with the venue itself.
Ticket sales for DanceHouse’s presentation of Gallim Dance, which opens in the Playhouse Theatre this evening and runs until tomorrow (March 24) night have stagnated since the announcement of the VPTC’s closure, said DanceHouse producer Jim Smith.
“Since the announcement of the Playhouse, we’ve received a number of phone calls of people under the impression that our activities would be cancelled, and people were asking ‘How do I get refunds?’” Smith told the Straight by phone.
Ticket sales, he added, “have kind of halted. We go through a process of selling subscriptions in the course of the year, which is pre-selling tickets in advance, and then we have a single-ticket campaign which really gears up four weeks heading out in front of the event. And that basically coincided with much of the activity that was going on in terms of the Playhouse [Theatre Company] and its tragic story.”
It’s a similar story at the Vancouver Recital Society, where staff have been fielding phone calls from confused subscribers and would-be ticket buyers. “We had our last concert of this particular season at the Playhouse just last week, and we did have to fight that same perception,” reported marketing director Niamh Small. The organization has tried to clarify things with special emails, mail-outs, and online messages, she said.
“We’ve had lots of phone calls and we’re trying to sell a new season now. We’ve launched our 2012/13 season, and there are concerts at the Playhouse, there’s an entire series there, and we’re finding that we’re still fielding phone calls. We’ve put it on our website, we’ve put it in our e-newsletter, but I don’t think the message is really hitting people. And people really do assume that they’re one and the same—the venue and the company. It’s very baffling. We’re sending out a renewal postcard today, and we’ve had to add a line saying our Playhouse series continues as scheduled.”
Smith said that ticket sales for Gallim Dance are about 20 percent less than what they normally would be. “It’s a bit troubling,” he commented. “Luckily, we’ve had a year that has been relatively robust…. I don’t think we’ll be completely hard-hit of course, but you know, any sort of being blown in the side of the bow of a budget is always a bit upsetting.”
Friends of Chamber Music board member Paris Simons said he has been working hard to get the word out that the volunteer organization’s concerts are going ahead as planned. “We are trying to use Facebook and email, we’re trying word-of-mouth, the website,” he said. “The general perception is if the Vancouver Playhouse [Theatre Company] goes down, that is the Vancouver Playhouse. There is not a general understanding in the city that the venue is different from the theatre production company."