This week, Box Office Supervisor Paul Brotherton tells us about how he came to work at the theatre and about working in a very busy ticket office…
Hello, I’m Paul, one of three Box Office Supervisors here at Birmingham Hippodrome. I work within a relatively small and diverse team. My journey at the theatre began almost three years ago, in October 2009, when I was employed as a full time Information & Sales Assistant. Before this, I spent three years by the sea at Aberystwyth University studying drama, where I was President of the drama society, taking part in a number of performances in and out of University drama department. Now, as we are asked by the cast of Avenue Q, “What do you do with a BA in English” well equally I asked myself what I might be able to do with my BA in Drama after three years of study…
So off I went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for two months to work in Box Office. I don’t think I had ever worked so hard before that, long shifts, constant queues and theatre in every kind of venue you could imagine. I remember sitting on the Box Office counter one morning towards the latter end of the festival wondering what on earth I was going to do when I went home and up popped a job working in Box Office at the Birmingham Hippodrome, a theatre I had loved visiting since I was a youngster. Off the application form went and along came the interview and, here I am today.
I was lucky enough to receive a promotion to Supervisor last year, which has brought new challenges and responsibilities. Within Box Office management we all have our individual duties, it is my responsibility to set up each show on our ticketing system, for example, so they’re ready for you to buy from us over the telephone, in person or online. This can be quite intricate work, (particularly when you’re setting up a twelve week summer show across three different pricing schedules!) but equally rewarding. Aside from “set up”, you might find me counting the takings from the previous day’s business, dealing with customer queries, liaising with other departments such as education, development and Birmingham Royal Ballet and acting as a point of contact for visiting companies.
Our Box Office employs a diverse bunch, all with different interests and strengths and there is never a dull moment in the office. Every member of the team is equipped with the expertise and knowledge needed to deliver the best possible service to you. It’s not just tickets we sell, it’s us you speak to to make your restaurant reservations, book your theatre packages and administer your friends’ membership, to name but a few of the strings in our large bow. There are lots of exciting new shows to be announced in our upcoming season, so stay tuned, but in the meantime I’m most looking forward to Sister Act and Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Aladdin. I like the ballet’s mixed bills too, I always think that there’s something there for everyone to enjoy.
Away from work, I enjoy partaking in a bit of amateur dramatics and am a member of the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham city centre. There are a great number of opportunities for members to get involved in the Crescent’s varied programme, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in a touring Shakespeare as well as playing Pike in Dad’s Army and a mute in Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. I’m a big music fan too and enjoy going to a good gig, when I can, in and around the city centre as well as adding to my ever growing CD collection.
Look forward to speaking to you all soon on the telephone!