Spotlight on Maggie Mann
Maggie Mann works in ticketing at the Perth Theatre Trust. Through her deep love of the arts she is able to provide the best service and advice to her customers. She chats to MEAA about her role, keeping up to date with performances and events around the country, and why she feels it's important to be a MEAA member.
What is your current role?
I work for the Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA) - Perth Theatre Trust (PTT). PTT's venues are His Majesty's, the State Theatre and Subiaco Arts Centre. The latter is now closed during the day and so we only attend when there is a performance. We sell for Ticketek and act as an agency for many other venues around Australia.
Take me through a full day for you at work.
I sell theatre tickets and work in the aforementioned box offices. A shift there includes - if one is the first on duty - opening the box office, doing the banking from the previous day, checking that all the brochures are up to date and checking emails from PTT or performance promoters.
Then the general public start appearing. His Majesty's is by far the busiest venue. People arrive wanting to purchase tickets not just for the PTT venues but as an agency, we sell for countless theatres and venues around Australia. However, on the whole, it's mostly Perth venues that we sell for.
There are people who want advice as to what to buy. They may want to give a gift or are only in Perth for a few days and want to see a show. Therefore we have to keep up to date with the performances so that we are able to give them an idea of the type of show. We also sell WA Opera subscriptions (which occurs around October/November), Morning Melodies and sporting events such as the Perth Hopman Cup and the Australian Open in Melbourne. One also has to keep on the ball as there are many price variations in a sale.
We have to man the box offices when PTT performances are taking place. This means printing off and handing out tickets to those who have booked online and need to pick up their tickets for the show. There, of course, are always those who have forgotten their tickets, have turned up on the wrong night or indeed simply want to buy some. Often people are not happy with the seat they have been allocated and so we try to accommodate such things. Difficult if the show is a sell-out. We work closely with Front of House (FOH) and have to give them numbers of patrons attending, any wheelchair bookings, any special needs etc.
By far the busiest time for us is the Perth Festival. For 'Friends of the Festival' (FOF) selling starts about three days before the general public can buy and the FOF receive a discount. As I'm sure you're aware, there are countless shows going on throughout Perth during this time and so people buy for many shows. Single transactions can take up to half an hour. The next busy time is when the Festival is actually on during February. It can be manic!
How did you get your start in the industry?
I started in this industry almost eight years ago. I responded to an advertisement in the paper. I was immediately interested as theatre and the arts have always been a passion for me. Born and bred in London, I spent a lot of time indulging in the wealth of theatre that London has to offer. In view of this, I have a fairly good knowledge of such.
What are some of your career highlights?
I believe that with my theatre knowledge and love of the industry, I have been able to give good service and advice to people. This I enjoy very much. Plus I have much enthusiasm which I hope rubs off on them! We occasionally as staff get house seats and so I have been able to wallow in some wonderful productions. I have also met some of the performers which is always a thrill!
What would be your advice for people wanting to get into the industry?
I truly believe that the arts is one of the best industries to be in. People are so stressed these days and to be able to give them a few hours of theatre, beautiful music, dance and most importantly, to make them laugh - well selling tickets to provide that has to be an honour. Very few, if any, industries offer this.
Why is being a MEAA member important to you?
Being an MEAA member is very important to me. I have always completely believed in unions. We need them and always shall. If not, employers would just exploit and try to gain as much as they can without giving anything back. Someone has to monitor this and that's what unions do. It is a wonderful thing to have the backing of a union should things go wrong during one's employment.