As 2011 comes to a close may I indulge in sharing what we have been up to during the past twelve months.
First and foremost we make our living from selling theatre tickets and 2011 has resulted in ticket sales in excess of £1.6 million, which has filled quite a few seats in theatres primarily across the West End.
Our London theatre APP has proved to be a popular success on both the Apple iSeries, and also on the Android mobile phones. I am always looking to improve the APP and we will be launching an updated and faster version as early as possible in 2012. Due to technology being what it is, it isn’t always possible to get the APP working on ALL phones as there are differences in the various operating systems. My apologies to those who are unable to get the APP working on their mobile, as there have been a handful, but we will always do our best to try to resolve issues. The fact is that we have had close to 7,000 downloads of the APP since launching in September, 2011. Many thanks to those of you that have downloaded it and who continue to use it! Having reviewed the prospect of creating an APP to work on the Blackberry, in view of costs we have had to put this on the backburner, for now.
The highlight for me on our website this year has been the introduction of our Meet The Cast section, which has given us the opportunity to find out about some very talented actors, and also be able to share this information with you. We have now passed 80 interviews with several in hand waiting to be finalized and published early in 2012.
We have had some lovely moments meeting cast during 2011 but the ones that stand out are; interviewing Jonny Wilkes in his dressing room in the depths of the Cambridge Theatre, meeting Jasna Ivir, David Page and James Doherty at the same venue, interviewing Tabitha Webb and a first visit to the dressing room of one of the leading actresses at Her Majesty’s Theatre and seeing how incredibly beautiful (and heavy) Christine Daae’s dresses are in The Phantom of The Opera, eating out and chatting with Jodie Jacobs, meeting Stephen Ashfield, Carley Stenson, Lincoln Stone, Nicola Brazil, Alex Gaumond and Chris Ellis-Stanton of Legally Blonde, Caroline Loncq and Tara Fitzgerald from Broken Glass, Kevin Kennedy, Sabrina Aloueche and Lauren Varnham from We Will Rock You, and of course John Owen-Jones The Phantom of The Opera. Meeting Ellen Greene, Ben Salter and Ashleigh Gray from Betwixt! was a lovely experience. At The Landor Theatre, we had the pleasure of seeing Mamma Mia’s Kim Ismay perform in About Bill, in what was a fabulous performance. Away from the West End, it was great to go and listen to some lovely performers including Kieran Brown, Daniella Bowen and Joanna Forest. My apologies if I have missed anyone out, but it has been a very busy year and it is difficult to recall every special moment!
Probably the most moving performance was from Alfie Boe, in Les Miserables. Alfie Boe is also such a genuine man to meet and chat with.
Our most read cast interview in 2011 is that of Ruta Gedmintas, with John Owen-Jones and Killian Donnelly in second and third. Ruta is an outstanding actress who is currently appearing as Astrid Kirchherr in Backbeat at the Duke of York’s Theatre. John and Killian have been vying across the stage as The Phantom of The Opera and Raoul at Her Majesty‘s Theatre, as well as their infamous JohnvsKillian Challenges. John has headed off into the sunset on tour as we wait for the next challenge…
My personal favourite shows for 2011 and ones that I would happily go and see again tomorrow are (in no particular order); Legally Blonde as it is fun and you will leave the theatre with a smile on your face, Billy Elliot as it is a classic with brilliant choreography and takes you on such an emotional journey, Chicago as it is a sassy show, Wicked because it really is wicked, and The 39 Steps as it is great fun with some first class acting. Matilda as it has something special about it!
We have also been to see many other shows this year which have included; Backbeat, the Premiere of Ghost The Musical, Les Miserables, Mamma Mia, Rock of Ages, The Phantom of The Opera, We Will Rock You, The Mousetrap, The Woman In Black, Matilda, Flare Path, The Tempest, Broken Glass, Driving Miss Daisy, A Night For Jennifer, Love Never Dies, The Children’s Hour, The Wizard of Oz, War Horse, Jersey Boys, Much Ado About Nothing and Betty Blue Eyes.
Doubtless you will have your own favourite shows, and cast, but the above are mine.
Looking ahead to 2012, there are a few London West End actors that I would love to interview and will hopefully be able to add their names to the ever-growing list as soon as possible. A very well known director is also high on the agenda.
It has doubtless been a mixed year in the West End, with some of the popular shows closing, including Priscilla, Betty Blue Eyes, Lend Me A Tenor and of course Love Never Dies. On the positive side, we have also seen some brilliant new shows including Ghost and Matilda which are sure to be mentioned in the awards in 2012.
For us, I hope to maintain our foothold in the London theatre market-place. I am looking to target 10,000 downloads for our London Theatre APP as well as increasing our followers on the social network including Twitter, Facebook and MySpace etc. Our blog posts including cast interviews and London theatre reviews continue to grow in readership numbers, and hopefully we can keep this trend going in 2012.
I know I have already penciled in the diary to go to see some shows during 2012 – have you?
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