Shetland Box Office is now live online at www.shetlandboxoffice.org in the latest phase of this partner project to widen access to tickets for Shetland events across the isles and beyond.
Shetland Arts and Shetland Islands Council accessed Scottish government funds to implement a ticket system that would help reduce the barriers that rural communities face in accessing tickets for events. An advisory group looked at many systems that could cope with ticket sales and memberships systems and chose Tessitura, one of the largest international companies specialising in this field, as it was flexible enough to fit all their needs. The Albert Hall, the Grand Metropolitan and many other famous venues have been successfully using the system for many years, including a similar partnership in Victoria, Canada, which sells ticket for a partnership across a wide geographic area, using Tessitura in a similar way to Shetland Box Office Partnership.
Phase 1 (face to face ticket sales in Islesburgh Centre and the Garrison Theatre, and phone sales operated by Islesburgh Centre staff) has been highly successful with over 95000 tickets sold in Shetland to date. 59 promoters have used the facilities selling tickets for 176 productions and 827 individual performances at venues from Fair isle to Unst.
The website enables users to view all up-coming events currently on sale via the What's On page. The events are listed in date order and include details such as the venue, description of the event and ticket prices. Once you register as a user, you can buy tickets by credit or debit card and choose to have them posted to you for a small fee or collected from the venue or box office, unless the event is within the next 7 days, when the tickets will only be available for collection. You can select your seat for events in the Garrison Theatre, with other venues having unreserved seating.
Other users of online box office facilities have found that within 6 month of their websites going live over 40% of all sales have been through the web. Offering three ways of purchasing tickets - face to face, over the phone or online - will open up events to everyone across the isles. It will reduce the need for queuing for popular events, help those in the outer isles plan ahead to go to the cinema and other shows in town, and provide an opportunity for all promoters to sell their tickets outside Shetland, attracting tourists in advance to events across Shetland.
Gwilym Gibbons, Director of Shetland Arts, said: "This latest phase of the Shetland Box Office marks a significant development in this partnership project. The option for Shetland customers to buy tickets online and browse what's on information across many different promoters, venues and organisations is a great step forward. For visitors to Shetland it provides for the first time, information in one place that shows the vast offering of arts activity in Shetland; and best of all allows them to buy their tickets 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world".
Gwilym added: "The Shetland Box Office's success to date is born out of a special partnership between Shetland Islands Council, namely their Islesburgh team, and Shetland Arts. Partnerships around this complex mixed operational and strategic nature are always challenging across organisations and the Shetland Box Office has been no exception. The launch today of online sales is a real tribute to the determination and commitment of staff in both organisations. Shetland is at its best when organisations share resources and come together for the benefit of all, it's not always the path of least resistance but more often than not, given time it does lead to the greatest return on investment".
Florence Grains, the Council’s Spokesperson for Culture and Recreation said: “I’m delighted to see that the Shetland Box Office is now fully operational, including online sales. This development assists the Council with its aspiration to make services more accessible to everyone in Shetland, regardless of where they live. I am also pleased to see that the Council and Shetland Arts are working so well together on this shared project and I look forward to seeing this service further develop over time.