Monday, 11 October 2010

Rhod Gilbert is postponed

Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert, who was due to be with us this Wednesday evening was postponed today.  He has pneumonia, and was ordered by his doctor this morning not to go ahead with this weeks commitments.  If you know anyone who was due to be coming, please let them know.
Hopefully though we've also managed to get the message out to them.  On average, we only cancel or postpone 1 or 2 shows a year, and the alst time it happened so close to the event was around 3 years ago.  Thankfully though, we're pretty good at having procedures in place for things like this, and our team knew exactly what had to be done today.
The first I heard about it was an email from his Promoter at around 2pm this afternoon.  She was contacting us, and the other venues affected.  We immediately took the show "off sale", which means we stopped selling tickets, but at that point didn't give any indications as to why.  Before we communicate that the show isn't happening, we want to also communicate what IS happening instead.
Both myself and the Promoter were keen to rearrange the show for a new date, and that process, which invloved not just us, but also the other venues, was finished by 4.45pm.  We had a new date of February 3rd next year.
In the meantime, our Marketing team had drafted the Press Release, plus an email and posted letter, both of which would go out to everyone that had bought a ticket, to be doubly sure that they heard, and don't turn up on Wednesday.
At 4.45 I was able to say to the team "It's February 3rd, go for it".  The date was inserted into the documents, and our printer started printing the letters.  Throughout the afternoon they had also already printed all the envelopes and run them through the franking machine.
All available hands were on deck to fold the letters and stuff the envelopes.
By 5.45, one hour later, the email had gone, Radio Plymouth were making the announcements that the show was postponed, and I had over a thousand letters in my boot on the way to the sorting office.  They will be on doormats tomorrow morning.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Almost a train crash

An update for you on my blog last week regarding the Thomas The Tank show.  I mentioned how we'd strenghtened the stage to take the weight of the trains, which are over a tonne each.
First the good news.  Our sums were right.  Where we had bolstered the strength, it held up.
Now the not so good news, which I received at half five on Friday night.  During the tour (as happens with most tours while they are on the road), the show had been refined and improved.  As part of that, Thomas was now using a much greater area of the stage than we had believed.  Unfortunately we had only strenghtened the area we thought was needed. 
There was only one way to find out if this was a problem.. to ask Thomas to rehearse!  And so he did.
Crack...  Crack...  Crack...
After a few panicked phone calls, it was clear there were two options: to somehow spend more money on Friday teatime to make the whole stage stronger, or to think about cancelling some or all of the shows.  Well as a father of 2 who were due to come the next day, it was clear that upsetting around 2000 children wasn't an acceptable outcome. 
Thankfully, the next phone call to Totem Timber went well, and despite the fact that they were on their way home, were able to supply what we needed.  Our maintenance and technical teams worked around the clock, as they do so often, without anyone (including me) ever noticing or appreciating.
The result was that the show went on, and thankfully no children witnessed a train crash at Millbay Station this weekend.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Trains are calling at Millbay Station again!

Those with long memories may recall that the Pavilions is built on the site of a former railway station.  “Plymouth Millbay” Station stood opposite the Duke of Cornwall Hotel, and was the original terminus for the city.  It opened is 1849 and the last passenger train departed in 1941.  


Until now.


This weekend, we have not 1, but 5 trains back at Plymouth Millbay station, as children’s show Thomas and Friends takes to the stage.  They’re hefty things as well – so much so that we’ve had to get the Pavilions stage especially re-enforced to handle the weight.  I hope we’ve got the calculations right!


Oh, and next time you are near the front entrance of the Pavilions, look out for 2 granite posts near Millbay Road.  They are the original gate posts to the station, and are all that is left of it today.