Covid-19 may have put a dampener on live entertainment last year but the recent success of Mamma Mia has created a positive outlook at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre.
The sell-out season of the popular musical was the first production to perform on the Moncrieff stage since the curtain dropped in March 2020.
More than 4500 tickets were sold, with audiences finally able to enjoy the ABBA-themed play 12 months on from when it was first set to showcase at The Playhouse Theatre.
Box Office Administration Officer Judy Atkins said bringing Mamma Mia to the people of Bundaberg had been a successful team effort.
“We worked closely with the Playhouse Theatre to reallocate seating for six performances in addition to selling the remainder of the season,” Judy said.
“They were extremely grateful for our help and in return we appreciated how easy it was to work together to achieve the best result for the ticketholders.
“Due to the pandemic, it was the first time in The Playhouse Theatre’s 70-year history where they performed more than twelve months on from a production’s initial ticket sales.”
Mamma Mia finally on stage
Playhouse Theatre Box Office Coordinator Phillipa Williams said the production would not have gone ahead without the help of the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre.
“The original production that was to be showcased over 12 shows at The Playhouse Theatre one year prior sold out within 48 hours,” she said.
“When we decided to hold off on the shows due to Covid, we found 99 per cent of patrons decided to keep their tickets to support us when we were eventually back on stage.
“That meant we had thousands of seats to re-allocate.”
Phillipa said the Moncrieff team sprang into action to handle the mammoth task and were able to re-allocate all tickets across six show dates.
“The Moncrieff staff went above and beyond and we are so thankful for their amazing support,” she said.
“We were able to put on a stellar production that was really quite emotional for everyone involved considering how far we had come.
“We were so relieved it was finally able to happen and I don't think anybody has had a bad word to say about it, we received amazing support from the community.”
Teamwork paramount during Covid
Faced with rearranging thousands of tickets amid a pandemic, the Moncrieff box office team continued to work hard behind the scenes in 2020.
Since March last year, they’ve had to advise thousands of patrons that shows were postponed or cancelled.
When restrictions eased and new dates were confirmed, they worked the phones again offering patrons reallocated seats or refunds.
Judy said the different restriction levels meant patrons were contacted multiple times.
“Firstly, we reallocated social distanced seating and then, once back to full capacity, patrons were contacted and given the option to return to their original seating requests,” she said.
“The majority of customers were very understanding.
“Amidst all of this though, when we re-opened in August, we moved into a new ticketing system which thankfully transitioned well, thanks to the 24/7 support from TicketSearch which was second to none.”
Arts and Cultural Services Manager Rod Ainsworth said he was proud of the mammoth effort put in by the team.
“There were 77 events either postponed or cancelled last year and although this impacted around 3300 tickets, realistically the number of seat allocations were at least three times this amount due to moving people multiple times in various formats,” he said.
“Closing our doors didn’t mean we had little to do and were twiddling our thumbs.
“In fact, it was the complete opposite and was the busiest year we’ve experienced in my time at Council.
“Our team were amazing and got on with the job in a very professional way, with the right amount of humor.”
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