Since we decided to go ahead with this year’s Festival, the entire team in Halifax have dreamed of the day we would hear the news that we could return to full capacity and share our productions with as many people as possible. We have been selling tickets in Buxton Opera House and Harrogate Royal Hall on a socially distanced plan – with around 40% of tickets on sale. Whilst we have been able to significantly reduce costs in some areas, the theatres were unable to offer any discount which has obviously left a rather large hole in our budget.
The news that that we can now fill the theatres was initially received with excitement and jubilation. On reflection, however, we do not believe that this would be the right thing to do at this time. The safety and comfort of our customers are paramount, and whilst we will increase the seats available, we will certainly not return to anything near 100% capacity. We will increase the available seats to approximately 55%. This will help us to accommodate our single visitors, who have been severely impacted by the social distancing restrictions in the theatres and allow customers greater flexibility when booking their seats from now on. These changes will come into force by July 17th.
If you have already booked your tickets and have seats on either side of your bubble, you will continue to have this extra space, and we will continue to enforce one way systems through theatres. We will also request that our guests continue to wear masks in the theatre.
For the first time in a long time, we have certainty. Unfortunately, it has come a little too late for us to maximise our selling potential, so now it is more important than ever that you support our fund raising initiative and “sponsor an empty seat”.