Celebrity 19: Booking Frustration

The Arts

So, ‘Celebrity’ heads into its second week, and suddenly the little show that opened without tryouts has sold out (although there will be a few returns each day – especially with the snow). The cast have transformed the play and are clearly having fun with their performances. Every night the readings vary enough for me to see it with fresh eyes.

We have a short transfer to a good theatre next summer – but meanwhile I’ve been trying to get venue bookers in to see the play, and there’s a problem. We’re the first show into a brand new space, and the bookers remember it used to be an old restaurant, not a venue with a stage and a lighting rig.

I call. I email. I call again. Working in film I could get the phones answered by just about anyone. In this field I’m a newbie, and the calls are rarely returned. If they are, it’s to say ‘We’re too busy – we can’t come and see you.’ How the hell do we transfer if we don’t get the bookers to see the play? I find myself spending an insanely disproportionate amount of time on this project, because it’s not just me but a team of us who want it to work.

Scaling up the bookers issue to commercial sizes, is this why we’re stuck with ‘Flashdance’ and ‘The Mousetrap’ in the West End? I’m told everyone has this problem. But we have faith. We’re already further than we ever thought we’d be. On Saturday night, when we have our last performance, it won’t be the end – it’ll be the beginning.

3 comments on “Celebrity 19: Booking Frustration”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    Perhaps people with venue connections should suggest the connections see the play or they could contact the local theatre with “I’ve just seen this great play and it looks as if it would like to run. What about it?”

  2. Steve says:

    Yes, and picket the West End carrying placards and chanting “We Want Celebrity! We Want Celebrity!”

    It could work, you know.

  3. Mark Manley says:

    Just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS on winning the Green Carnation prize! SO wonderful to have one of my favourite authors recognised in this way. Well done!!

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