Operations: ankle deep in party poppers

December 2013 at THSH was probably the busiest ever – in addition to all the shows at our two main venues, we presented an managed a run of the West End hit Thriller Live in Hall One of the ICC.

For our operational teams it was an extremely challenging time, but a suitable bookend to a very good year. Here are some of the numerical highlights, from between 19 December and 5 January:

  • 72 performances managed
  • Over 200 staff, including 130 Front-of-House staff, employed in total
  • In excess of 66,000 customers welcomed through our doors
  • 12,000+ ice creams sold
  • More than 10000 programmes sold

We even managed 19 performances over one weekend!

Having worked in front-of-house for many years, albeit not recently, I can tell you that working during late December is a slightly surreal experience. In the lead up to the holidays there’s a really exciting atmosphere, with the Frankfurt Christmas Markets outside helping to create a real mix of shoppers, audience members and party goers – all getting in the festive spirit.

After Christmas it goes really quiet during the day at Symphony Hall. In particular, the International Convention Centre where we are based becomes deathly quiet until staff and then customers start to arrive for events. Standing in the mall counting programmes beforehand, say in the afternoon of 27 December, it can feel like you’re the only person at work!

But once concert time arrives, as always at THSH, the excitement levels build and people really want to have a good time, which makes for a great atmosphere for everyone!

This is a good opportunity to pay tribute to the Front-of-House, Technical, Bars and Hospitality and Box Office teams as well as all the backstage staff that worked over Christmas and New Year across all venues this year – they did a great job and our customers had a fantastic time resulting in lots of positive comments and feedback.

I feel a final special mention should be made of We Clean, our cleaning partners, who kept the buildings looking so good throughout this period. This is especially true for Symphony Hall on 1 January, when the team are faced with the aftermath of our New Year’s Eve Gala concert. Anyone who has been to the NYE concert here will know that the Stalls are ankle deep in party poppers, streamers and balloons after the event.

The cleaning team did a fantastic job this year, not a popper was left visible by the time the audience arrived at 2.30pm for the New Year’s Day concert.

Now to planning for next Christmas…

– Nick Loveland, Director of Operations

Image: Nana B Agyei