Last year, the performing arts industry was rocked by the effects of Covid-19 – and the Oamaru Opera House was not immune.
This year, director Frances McElhinney wants to build back confidence within the community.
During lockdown, Ticket Rocket (TicketDirect), the ticketing company used by the Oamaru Opera House, went into receivership and was unable to offer refunds for cancelled shows.
Since then, people had been cautious about coming into the Opera House and booking in advance, so it was important to boost customer confidence, Mrs McElhinney said
“This is a community facility. It belongs to the people of the town.”
The Opera House had now introduced its own ticketing system, which was developed by three staff during lockdown.
The new “in-house” system guaranteed refunds if shows were cancelled.
“It’s safe as houses,” she said.
Although Mrs McElhinney was still nervous to make any big plans or bookings, she said the theatre was turning its focus towards New Zealand shows and performers.
“New Zealand companies are world class and punch well above their weight.”
She was particularly excited about Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, which was coming to Oamaru in April.
It showcased a selection of Samoan poetry presented by six Samoan women, and was sold out when it played on Broadway in New York City in 2019.
“It’s great to have them come this way, especially with our large Pasifika community.”
Mrs McElhinney hoped that in the coming year more people who were unfamiliar with the arts would “give it a crack”.
“Arts have a massive cultural impact and give voice to challenging subjects.”