Now the compliments are over it's time to move on to what this blog is really about!
A complaint to the management of the Civic Theatre Auckland -
Yesterday afternoon my young daughter Charlotte and I went to see Wicked at the Civic Theatre in Auckland. As a single Mum I had saved for near on four months to pay the $220 for two tickets in C row in the stalls. As the date of the performance crept nearer I can't tell you how excited Charli and I were to be coming once more to the beautiful Civic Theatre to see a show. In fact so excited we couldn't sleep the night before it felt like Christmas eve!
Charlotte was just three years old when I brought her to see her first show and we have saved every year to see some truly amazing shows at this lovely theatre, including Phantom, Mamma Mia and Mary Poppins.
I have never had cause to complain, I have often felt the sting of the overpriced merchandise and refreshments but nothing that has ever overly bothered me. Until last night......
As the curtain rose yesterday afternoon we were taken away to the beautiful and at times truly magnificent land of Oz, we laughed, we cried, we hid during the scary bits and as the curtain came down for the interval we headed up to the foyer to buy one of theatres greatest traditions an icecream. By the time the curtain went up for the second half we were settled into our seats our icecreams finished ready for the next half and that's when it started.
A rustle made me turn sideways to eye up the person sitting next to me, a teenager, who had during the interval purchased a large bag of popcorn and a large bag of candyfloss. I looked a little in disbelief wondering how they could have smuggled it into the theatre when the people sitting the other side of me also opened a bag of popcorn, a Mother and daughter, then to my utter dismay a person behind me too. Before I knew it all we could hear was the constant rustle of what seemed like a bottomless supply of snacks ruining any chance we had to hear properly or from that point on enjoy the performance. Even my seven year old daughter turned to me and said 'Mum I can't hear properly the lady next to me is making so much noise'.
Now I am not usually one to complain but the theatre is one of my loves. The fact that I paid over $200 for tickets, $25 for a programme, $40 for a t-shirt, $10 for ice-creams and money on drinks too, I think gives me a right to be able to sit and enjoy a performance without having it ruined by people eating through it!!
When we entered the theatre at the beginning of the show I actually heard an usherette reprimand someone who had brought a sandwich in to eat (which at least would have been quieter!), but is of course not acceptable but in your wisdom you think it's alright for people to devour noisy snacks as long as they are purchased from you for a live theatre show. I didn't pay $10 to sit in the cinema or $40 to go to the circus, I paid $220 for Stalls tickets!!!!!!!!!!
What has happened to theatre etiquette?
|This is what the second half sounded like!|
I spoke to the Manager of the Civic afterwards and he asked me 'What do you think we should sell?' I said 'How about nothing! I don't want to listen to other people eating, ice-creams are brilliant because they are finished before the curtain even goes up for the second half'
As I said to the Manager this is about greed plan and simple and now I am not talking of people's greed to eat constantly but the greed of the theatre. How else can we make money, what else can we sell to make an extra buck! Well this time Civic you have got it wrong, there is no way I will ever go to another show unless these sorts of foods are banned from your theatre. You won't let people bring them in and you shouldn't be selling them yourself, stop being so greedy!
Let's get back to the time when you felt a sense of occasion going to the theatre. When you dress up and act like civilized people. I mean seriously can people not last 3 hours without needing to stuff their faces?? What truly amazed me about these people is they seemed to have no conception that the noise might be upsetting other theatre goers or even worse the poor actors themselves!
During the performance I was one of three people who turned to the various culprits to tell them to sshhh, so this upset was not purely me, other people were bothered by it too.
I can't tell you how bitterly disappointed I was to have our evening ruined. We had been looking forward to it for so, so long. I have written to the management of the Civic and I will let you know what happens when I get a reply. I have a feeling though it might be time to take up a petition against them. I can't stand the thought of not going to the shows there but it felt like a total waste of my money from the interval onwards.
I just hope they listen, it is just such a shame to see a theatre drop it's standards of behaviour in favour of making money. Come on Civic show us you care!!
Have a great day folks
Reply from The Edge to which I replied that I would like to be kept informed on future developments, I have to say it might have been nice if they had offered us a partial refund or something but there you go, most important thing is that they are going to look into it, I just hope they actually do!!
Thank you for your feedback regarding the distracting noise the packaging of some confectionary items make when used by patrons, it is most appreciated.
In the past few years The Civic has had several productions with exceptionally long running seasons like Jersey Boys and Mary Poppins with audiences of many thousands and this is the first feedback of this nature that I have received.
It is of course not our goal to effect anyone’s enjoyment negatively. In fact we are selling themed confectionary, cocktails and suchlike to add value to the experience even before our patrons enter the theatre and enjoy the actual event. In this case being able to buy Wickedly green fudge, candyfloss and a themed cocktail.
Having said all this, you say that your experience was negatively affected by the noise of the packaging and this is enough for us to look into this matter and see whether we need to make some changes, be it by not selling certain items altogether or changing the packaging.
Once again thank you very much for your feedback, I will personally visit a few performances to get an idea of the extent of the problem and address it accordingly.
Frank Bischoff | Head of Visitor Experience