Have you got the touch?On September 4, 2019 by Matt
Box office duties can bring some interesting requests. In common with a lot of Drama Societies we operate a ticket reservation service. Tickets can be ordered via our ‘Ticket Hotline’, a messaging service where customers can leave their requirements and we call them back to them to confirm. Ticket requests for the first play of our 70th Anniversary year were arriving as normal but the content of one message was a little different.
“Hello”, said the lady, “My name’s Jane and I would like two tickets to your production of The Vicar Of Dibley, for the Thursday evening – oh, as I’m blind and have a dog – perhaps you could call me and let me know what happens as I’ve never visited your venue before.”
I have been running our Box Office arrangements for a several years and have never known anyone ask if they could bring a guide dog before; asking around our members nobody could remember anyone bringing a guide dog to one of our productions ever. One of the play’s Directors suggested that he could offer a ‘Touch Guide’ of the set if Jane and her dog could get to us half an hour before curtain up. I rang Jane and asked her if she would like a pre-production ‘Touch Guide’ of the set and props; she was delighted at the prospect and happy to arrive early.
At half past six on the Thursday evening Jane, dog and guide all met in our auditorium. Our production of The Vicar of Dibley had a fairly complex set depicting five different acting areas on two different levels. We were able to guide her around that set, letting her touch props and scenery and some costumes as well. This took us a while as we explained how the play unfolds and how the different parts of the set and props are used. Then she settled in her seat to hear the play, dog happily at her feet.
At the end of the play I was sitting where I could see the audience and I noticed that Jane was applauding vigorously, as were many others I’m happy to say, but I was struck by the sight of her dog, standing wagging his tail which I can only assume was a display of approval.
Talking to Jane after curtain down she said how much she had enjoyed the production and how much the guided ‘Touch Tour’ had helped her to get a real sense of what was happening on the set. We were pleased that we had helped an audience member to have such a positive experience, so much so that we repeated the ‘Touch Tour’ for another audience member who has advanced macular degeneration the next evening – again with a positive result.
We will be offering ‘Touch Tours’ as a feature at as many of our future productions as we can.
Audience satisfaction brings audience enhancement, do you have the touch?
Codsall Dramatic Society – 2019