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View from: Richard Loftus

27 May 2020

Part of Supercool's Arts + Culture In Lockdown series

Richard Loftus

Richard Loftus – Director of Sales and Marketing, Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham


Our venues are currently closed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The last performance hosted at our venues was Jamie Cullum on Sunday 15 March 2020.

That night, almost 1,900 people sat in the warmth of Symphony Hall listening to the critically acclaimed musician and songwriter.

Whilst a number of colleagues have now been furloughed, in order to make use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme funding and secure the future of our music charity, the Box Office team – supported by other remaining colleagues – continue to process an unprecedented volume of refunds and contact audiences electronically with updates as soon as they are able to do so.

The heavy sadness of this monotonous process means colleagues now work from home, administering the refunds of earned income ticket by ticket, show by show.

… colleagues now work from home, administering the refunds of earned income ticket by ticket, show by show

In April, Town Hall Symphony Hall refunded over £500,000 of ticket income for cancelled or postponed performances. The vast loss that concert halls like ours, all across the country, are facing is devastating.

For many, those tickets marked special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries or even an opportunity to get together with a friend for a shared live experience. For all of us, those moments of togetherness – whether at our concert halls or elsewhere – have been postponed or cancelled.

The current COVID-19 crisis will dramatically limit our ability to present the many learning, talent development and community engagement projects that form a vital part of our work and positively impact almost 20,000 young people and adults each year.

It has been heartening to see audience members who have donated the value of their tickets to our music charity, or our Resident Orchestra, as a demonstration of their support.

Those donations are hugely appreciated and we’re incredibly thankful to Spektrix for responding so quickly to the pandemic with the Spektrix Ticket Converter Tool.

Where appropriate, audiences have been offered the option to return the value of cancelled tickets in the form of donations and account credit.

Our arts charity continues to find ways of bringing people together – in the safety of a digital space – to connect with music

Thanks to this generous support, our arts charity continues to find ways of bringing people together – in the safety of a digital space – to connect with music.

In partnership with associate artists, Black Voices, community choirs from across the West Midlands joined the first-ever digital Community Spirit workshop on Saturday 9 May.

Last year saw over 350 Community Spirit singers entertaining an audience of more than 1,100 people at Symphony Hall.

This year will be very different – but the music will play on.

Part of Supercool's Arts + Culture In Lockdown series

  • Richard Loftus

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