Reserved seating? “Don’t go all corporate; it’s part of the charm of your great theatre”

In the coming weeks I am hoping to take responsibilty for improving the Broadbent Theatre Box Office.  Not that we get many complaints with the current system but I feel there is room for improvment; we can make it easier for those that book tickets and for those that receive and manage those bookings.

I recently carried out a 5 second survey to the 1,500 members of our e-mailing list.  I asked “When booking tickets at the Broadbent Box Office, would you prefer to reserve a particular seat like you would at the Theatre Royal for example?”

We have the technology to impliment such a system but is it right to change the current system just because we can?  I announced in the email that I am looking for ways to improve the Box Office.  Add to that, the question is weighted in favour of a positive response.  This must be taken into consideration when looking at the results.

We had 65 responses.  30 in favour of reserving a seat when they book and 30 liking it just the way it is.  The other handful that responded had no preference.

I had no intention of proposing a change unless a very large majority were in favour of change.  The results are split 50/50 so there’ll be no change as far as seat reservation is concerned.

Many of those who were against my suggestion gave their reasons. Let’s look at some of the additional comments we received:

“Given the design of the theatre at Wickenby, I can’t see any particular advantage to being able to reserve specific seats. Unless one is accompanied by someone with particular needs – ie; extra legroom, poor eyesight or hearing impairment.”

“…doesn’t really bother me that much as considering the size of the Broadbent there isn’t really such thing as a ‘bad’ seat. Secondly I’ve never been when people haven’t been willing to move along to make room for a family group.”

“Seating has never been an issue for us.  There is usually enough choice unless it is very full.  If people reserve specific seats, this could make it more difficult to fit other people around them.”

“Recently booked 7 seats and we were able to all sit together so don’t feel it necessary to book particular seats in your lovely intimate ttheatre.”

“The theatre is quite small and I think the stage is visible from most areas so I do not see the need to book”

“No, simply being able to book in advance and then find your own seat on the night is part of the quite ‘Rural’ and old world nature of the Theatre. Please keep it.”

“No I like it the way it is.  Don’t go all corporate.”

“I think it is fine as it is, that is part of the charm of you great theatre.”

“We do not think it matters where we sit as you can see well in all seats.”

“Generaly ok as it is,as it’s such a small theatre people can see well wherever they sit & it seems fair that those who turn up early & may buy refreshments etc which helps the theatres funds should have the benefit of picking their seats on arrival. The only proviso could be that if a family of 5 or more book, maybe certain seats should be reserved for them in order that they can all sit together.”

“it doesn’t bother me that seats are allocated as guests arrive.  The Broadbent is so cosy that all seats offer good views of the productions.”

Some very good points.  When I think about my own arrival in the auditorium, I like to look around and see who is in.  I can then choose to sit next to someone I know and have a catch-up during the interval.  I love that some of you relate choosing your own seat as part of the charm of the theatre.

Of course, we already accommodate those with special requirements.  We have room for two wheelchairs and special access without any steps.  We can also reserve a row or two if you are with a big party.  Just dont forget to let us know when you book.

Maybe I shall be asking our audience more questions but in the meantime please leave comments below if you have ideas about how we can improve our service to you.

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