Online Ticket Sales For Theatre Companies

Recorded reading of Can't Pay? Won't Pay!
Recorded cast reading of Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay this past Saturday. That’ll be me pictured on the right of show, playing the role of Giovanni.

THE DEVIOUS theatre company, one of my other / many hats, have announced details of our first major production in 2010, Dario Fo’s Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! and I’ll be on KCLR96FM around 4:15pm afternoon chatting about the show. You can tune in via KCLR96FM.com (live stream link).

We do a lot of things online as a company, given we have no physical premises as such (bar sharing each others offices for the odd rehearsal / recording session). We blog, we connect, we share videos, tweet, hold our meetings online, use private forums for staff discussion, provide online resources, scripts and schedules for cast and crew, we advertise (and have completed a few useful Facebook ad campaigns), we podcast, we’ve an online CRM setup for managing contacts and suppliers and a whole lot more besides. The next logical step of course was to start selling tickets online.

I had long thought about it for the group, given the wide variety of venues we’ve performed in, the growing and varying audiences we’re attracting show-on-show, and the difference in management for pre-bookings or box office practice per venue that it would be good to introduce something online that we could manage ourselves, cost effectively as well.

Enter Eventbrite, which within ten minutes of using I had our December performance of Accidental Death of an Anarchist up and running, with five nights of tickets to buy for, connected out to our Facebook profile to plug the event there and (add on another five minutes or so) tickets available via DeviousTheatre.com with their embedding service.

So with a new show on the horizon and tickets gone to the printers, we figured we’d do exactly the same for our production of Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! in March.

There were a lot of plusses for using the service. To start with, it opened the door to a potential new revenue stream for the group. We decided that 2010 would be the year we focus on turning the group towards a business, the first step for us in bringing the company “professional” (join the queue for the debate between amateur and professional theatre) and as such, revenue streams have to be looked at. We spend a lot of time, as a group, online in promoting and documenting our shows and we felt that online ticket sales would give us the ability to reach those that are the more serious web users, those au fait with booking online. We also wanted a way to provide ticket sales to people traveling from out of town, those who couldn’t travel to Kilkenny before the box office closed at six, or those who didn’t want to give credit card details over the phone. On both, accounts, it worked.

That was the test – would it work. I would have considered it a success if one person had bought one ticket online, at least we know it worked. But one turned into three, turned into 17 and more as the weekend theatregoers turned up with their pre-printed tickets (made available by Eventbrite), our door staff crossing off the checklist of those who registered and paid for tickets online (also made available by Eventbrite) and as a plus for us, we had immediate access for funds to use online in advance of the production. As the payments go from Eventbrite to our Paypal account, and we’re avid eBay users for sourcing props for shows over the years, we’ve created a stream of income we didn’t quite have before.

For some of those people attending Accidental Death of an Anarchist, who bought their tickets online, it was their first time to see one of our productions – a further success in my eyes. Would they have come to the show or traveled 30 miles to Kilkenny if they hadn’t been able to buy their tickets online? Maybe, maybe not, but they came. And as a bonus, we’ve decided that those who did purchase tickets online for our first show will receive a nice discount on the online purchases if they want to buy tickets for Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! online. A token gesture for us, yes, but at the same time we’re hoping it would encourage people to return again and enjoy another night at the theatre.

The tickets for Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay are on sale. You can pick them up online here and here. There is a booking fee of €1.07 per ticket sold online, something that we’re also able to manage ourselves and it’s how Eventbrite (much like the credit card companies or physical theatres) will make their money from box office sales. When Eventbrite deliver funds per show / ticket sold, those funds include the booking fee. Post-event we’re invoiced from Eventbrite to recoup the booking fee, and again, it’s a straight Paypal transaction. Outside of that, there’s no other cost involved. No membership fee, no setup fee, nothing.

So we add online ticket sales to our bow, and we know that it works. I’m still tempted into doing an online theatre production, or live-streaming one of our own productions but we’ll have to talk to the licensing powers that be about that one.

And yes, I’m sure there are other ticket-selling resources available but we’ve tried Eventbrite, made it work, had it generate revenue and open a whole other realm of online promotion for the group so we’re happy to keep going with it.

Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! runs at the Set Theatre, John Street, Kilkenny from Wednesday March 10th to Sunday March 14th 2010. Tickets available online priced €13 ex booking fee. Keep an eye on DeviousTheatre.com for more details.

Live Streaming on iPhone 3G with Qik

THE N95 just “ain’t what it used to be” to me any more. When I picked up the handset close on two years ago it was a revolution for me. High quality digital camera (5MP), wifi, and easy use of Twitter and Qik through the S60 apps.

When I picked up the iPhone 3G last May, not long before the release of the 3GS in June, my N95 usage in departments camera, browser and video started to dip noticeably. This largely due to my O2 mobile broadband sim virtually living inside my iPhone instead of the USB modem for the past seven months or so.

And while I’m happy out twittering away from the iPhone or going about my daily online business, the one thing that I was hoping would come about was the facility to stream video, using Qik, without having to either a) jailbreak the iPhone or b) upgrade to the 3GS.

Qik on iPhone

A quick dip into the app store last night, spurred on by this blog post, which I had missed over the festive period, and we’re back in business.

There are two versions of the Qik app available – one for iPhone 3G and one for iPhone 3GS. I’m running the latest firmware available on the iPhone 3G and the video above went off this morning without a hitch.

I’ve also shied away from Qik after my O2 billing fiasco in the summer, a 3 minute Qik clip in Connolly Station at the start of the Kilkenny Arts Festival wound up costing me a few hundred euro – lesson well learned in bringing the wrong sim card with me that day. I’m hoping, given the success of the first video this morning that I might be a bit more fortunate on the live video front this year.

The app itself works a charm, the interface very straight forward, one-button record and you’re set. As per your profile on Qik.com you can tie in your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or other social accounts, broadcast live or record offline to store videos on the iPhone and distribute later, use the GPS to share your location with the video (by city, street or precisely), and like the S60 version you can make use of the chat.

I wouldn’t install it unless I knew I had the use of it and with Devious Theatre about to kick into action tomorrow for another two straight months, the return of the One Take Sessions (music series I run in Kilkenny), the multitude of festivals happening locally during the year, I’ll be looking forward to capturing – and making use of – video moments throughout 2010.

Try it for yourself, it’s available in the App store since December 24th and it’s going for the grand ole price of free.

All that remains for me to do is upgrade the N95… keeping the eyes peeled for a nice android handset.

Train Service Gets Connected, Wifi with Airappz

DART Station at Tara Street
Creative Commons License photo credit: Let Ideas Compete

FIRST THEY upgraded the trains. Then there was the new seats and the power points (offset possibly by the increase in food and ticket prices for the trains themselves). Now it looks like Irish Rail users on the Dublin – Cork – Dublin service will be able to available of wireless internet access, free of charge, courtesy of Irish Rail and Airappz.

Sure enough, they won’t be the first to offer wifi access on public transport with several coach operators around the country, including Kavanagh’s here in Kilkenny, offering on-board wifi but the development is something that has been long hoped for and though trialling for six months will hopefully stick around and get rolled out across the new fleet.

The trail installation will be for a complete trainset for the duration of the trail. After these 6 months Irish Rail will (together with Airappz) evaluate the usage & performance data and based on this they will decide whether or not to put the provision of a fleet-wide wifi service out to public tender.

I’ve never been one to take long journeys on the bus and up until I started driving I would almost always look to take the train, or a connection of trains to reach my destination. Though the cost of tickets has gone through the roof (I was shocked to pay €32 earlier in the week for a return to Dublin from Kilkenny, let alone the cost of a return from Cork to Dublin – €78.50 monthly return at time of writing), the train is still relied on by thousands of business commuters around the country, particularly those living outside of but working in Dublin.

Watching tweets over the last few months and years from those testing out mobile broadband dongles on the train to much joy / sorrow depending on what mobile operator you’re with and /or where on the map you’re passing through, I could only hope that the wifi service that will be rolled out on the Cork – Dublin line will be strong, consistent and ultimately be taken up by passengers and Irish Rail alike, paving the way for rollouts on other lines.

When I’m not driving, and Dublin bound (like this weekend gone), the train is still preferred. And if I could get a solid connection to work from without having to rely on mobile signal, I’d certainly be a happy traveller.

Congratulations to Evert Bopp, more good news for an Irish company.

Foursquare and Three Hours Ago

winter luas
Creative Commons License photo credit: mac_filko

TAKING ADVANTAGE of being in Dublin for the day or two, I finally got around to trying out Foursquare, having signed off before boarding the train a half hour ago.

First thoughts? Not too bad at all, Bernie Goldbach having already paved a way for me (seemingly) around Grafton Street and Stephen’s Green – this coming from the tips that were pushed through to me depending on where I checked in e.g. “as you are close to Brown Thomas…” etc.

That type of user input could come in handy. A tip from Bernie had me check out the top floor of BT, one from Una M had me scouting the massive mirrors in The Morrison on Ormonde Quay, and other tips coming through suggested helpful staff or places to eat.

Given the type of shopping we were at for the day it was primarily clothes shops that were hit, the frequency at which I checked in (“nothing here, let’s try the next shop up” etc.) wasn’t appreciated by the application, twice being accused of cheating my way around Dublin.

Tips aside, I can see and appreciate where the fear or security element may creep in. (See Niall H’s post from earlier today on privacy concerns ovre geolocation servies). A recent Christmas dinner with Keith, John and Frank Bradley arose conversation of social media savvy criminals and having my own home broken into a few years back (possibly due to my well advertised-online gig schedule), I would certainly be more aware of broadcasting my every location and every move. But things have changed about the house, new alarms fitted (and annoyingly loud), some people now sharing so there’s usually someone there around he clock. For those not in that position, or given the ability to broadcast your location instantly via Twitter or Facebook, are we starting to give too much away and putting ourselves at risk to certain unsavoury elements as a result?

Also, from my travels around Dublin today I was able to piece together where certain offices were, who the bloggers were within them, and given the mayors of certain eateries, where their breakfast or lunch breaks might be taken, or where they might be found during the evening if they’ve checked in for a pint in X on more than one occasion. Does it give way to unwanted profiling, or again allowing too much information about ourselves out into the open?

I had opted not to integrate Twitter / facebook to Foursquare or Gowalla, which I had been trying at the same time, more so not to be bugging people who follow my online activity with my every move – the in-built social side of Foursquare (friends) should and does take care of that. But again, while I’m happy tweeting and blogging away about where I might be off to or where I’ve been of late, I’m still not 100% on the notion of pushing absolutely everything about my whereabouts online.

Privacy matters aside, the offers I was alerted to while walking around the likes of Grafton Street and Dawson Street, though none were availed of, also show me that Dublin businesses are starting to get on board with geolocation, offering rewards for the use of location-based services that bring you through their doors. Some offered free cocktails, one a free three course meal for your birthday if checking in, others offering combinations of offers for the mayor of a particluar establishment.

If the likes of Foursquare was opened up to cover Ireland on a whole, or add a few ports-of-call outside Dublin, I might be more tempted to engage it as a way to avail of updates and offers from businesses in the locality but I’ll assume all in good time. Time in itself that might get me more comfortable in sharing my exact whereabouts with the rest of the world.

By the way, if you’re heading to Dublin tomorrow or in the next few days, it’s colder than cold up there. While the streets had begin to thaw today and the council had been out to grit a few paths, it’s still messy underfoot and icey around the ears. Wrap up warm.


Post started on WP2.1 on the iPhone somewhere between Dublin and Athy and wrapped up back at the ranch where it’s an awful lot handier to get photos and links in on the laptop.

Alas Poor Supermacs

supermacsPhoto via Twitpic, © Gav Reilly

Alas poor Supermacs, I knew ye well.

The taxi was called after nine for a few Christmas pints, having braved the drive from Sligo a few hours previous. The driver said “there must be something up” in town, evident by the large pillar of smoke rising over the skyline but by the time we reached the parade, restrictions were well underway. A quick detour around the town and five minutes later I’m standing on High Street watching Supermacs burn.

I remember when it opened, back in primary school at the time with some lads in the class tearing off in to town to be amongst the first few in the door and get themselves a free burger. Supermacs arrival in Kilkenny was massive, equaled, I guess, in size by the damage caused during last night’s blaze. For over an hour I found myself standing on High Street, blocked by the guards from venturing past the post office, watching on as a good half dozen units of the fire brigade went to work on containing the fire and stopping it spreading to the adjoining shops and apartments. Their efforts, if you read the Kilkenny People (here and here), were successful albeit having to return to a rekindled blaze in the early hours of the morning.

For many a year (before my appetite, diet and perhaps, sense, prevailed), Supermacs was a favoured haunt for secondary school Friday lunches or as a destination for post-pub grub on a night out.

The glass roof is gone, “other aspects of the building” have collapsed and ultimately it looks gutted but thankfully, not one person was hurt, injured or worse in the blaze.

Alas, poor Supermacs, we knew ye well.

Stags, Hens and Copy Cats

If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, then I’m guessing we should be very flattered by the following.

The Original – Devious Theatre Company

Stags and Hens by The Devious Theatre Company

The Copy – Waterford 2009 Production

Stags and Hens (rip off)

Myself, John, Paddy and Kev had spent the full day working on this photoshoot with the photography, artwork, colour scheme, actor setup, the whole shebang coordinated by our own (as in Devious Theatre’s) Paddy Dunne. Did they rip off his name too (note photographer: Paddy Dwan, too funny)?

Genuinely amused, albeit pissed off at seeing something ripped off.

Even The Sheikhs Are Tweeting

Sheiks on Twitter

How do you, as ruler of Dubai, send your congratulations on the launch of an e-library? By tweeting, of course.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai (very long title) is keeping people updated on government issues, business issues, a recently taken photo of Dubai from NASA, videos of the Dubai metro launch (was under construction the last time I was here but has opened as of last month), which are also available on his Facebook account.

I’m impressed.

“The Istanbul-based Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), which is affiliated with the Organistaion of Islamic Conference (OIC), has one of the most valuable references on the Islamic civilisation. This includes 65,000 rare reference books and 200,000 historic documents and images on the Islamic civilisation dating back to many centuries.

The project which was launched in 2008, aims to digitise all of the library’s contents, making its valuable resources available to the public through a multi-lingual portal.”

The turning of the library into a full e-library is being made possible with a grant from the Sheikh. (via Gulf News)

Last Call For Net Visionary 2009 Votes

Voting closes later today on the IIA Net Visionary Awards for 2009. If you haven’t already cast your vote you can do so by clicking here. You’ve got until 6pm today.

I’ll admit I left it until the last day to cast a vote myself so if you’re like me, click here to vote before 6pm.

Last year’s awards saw Pat Phelan (MAXroam / Cubic Telecom) announced as the overall Net Visionary. The awards this year have been brought in line with the IIA Congress and will be held on May 21st at the Crowne Plaza Dublin Northwood.

Go Mobile, Not Broke with Cubic Telecom and Qik

QikGo Mobile, Not Broke. You’ve got to love the tagline. And you’ve got to love the fact that an Irish company keeps getting bigger and broader. The mail this morning brings news that Cubic Telecom in Cork have followed their already existing partnerships with Dopplr, GetCover Insurance, Big Red Book and others to partner up with Qik.com. It was the likes of Pat Phelan (Cubic) and Bernie Goldbach that got me into using Qik to stream videos from my N95, a practice I’ll admit I don’t get to do all that often but when I do, they seem to make a good impression, traffic-wise.

The blurb…

The partnership with Cubic Telecom will see Qik give its users the opportunity to purchase Qik-branded SIM cards enabling them to stream video live from all corners of the planet – without coming home to an astronomical phone bill. The Qik SIM also provides massive savings on voice calls, email, web browsing and texting while they travel. Under the tagline “Go mobile, not broke,” Qik is offering its users a simple, inexpensive way to share live video no matter where they are. The Qik pre-paid SIM cards with full voice and data can be purchased from http://qik.com/roam. This is also where customers can manage their accounts.

“Travelers can now share their world journeys with videos, photos, text, and calls from their mobile device without it costing the earth.” said Pat Phelan, Cubic Telecom CEO “We’ve heard of the horror stories of travelers returning from a trip abroad to cell phone bills in the thousands of euros. The Qik SIM eliminates this worry for our customers.”

“We are excited to partner with Cubic Telecom to offer Qik SIM cards to our users,” said Ramu Sunkara, Qik CEO. “With the Qik pre-paid SIM cards, Qikkers across the world can now share their moments when they are traveling without having to worry about voice or data roaming costs. It’s like sending a live video postcard to your friends and family from wherever you are.”

Post-blurb…

I gave an outline of the Qik service to a potential client last week as a means of using live video streaming and interacting with an audience during a presentation, which got me to thinking why am I not Qikking the gigs that I’m involved in running in Kilkenny and elsewhere. For those not on any kind of stellar data plan or those operating outside of a wifi area, the partnership with Qik and Cubic Telecom, particularly when roaming out and about, could well breed a whole new line of Qik.com users.

I’ve got plenty of trips lined up this year where I would like the opportunity to stream from my handset without blowing an incredible hole in my wallet – Amsterdam, Belfast, Portugal, Dubai… where do I sign up?

LocalElections.ie Covering Kilkenny / Carlow

Ballot paper for the Manchester TIF referendum
Creative Commons License photo credit: Frankie Roberto

I stumbled across LocalElections.ie last week via KCLR 96FM, the station running the site as a means to get information to the masses on the local elections in Carlow / Kilkenny for 2009.

The site itself is heavy on the information side of things with plenty of information available on the structure of the elections, the breakdown of the councils within Carlow and Kilkenny, the power of councillors and lists of all current sitting councillors and those standing for election come June. While the names are there, it might be nice to get some profiles added on the actual councillors themselves – pictures, key election points etc. – something I’m sure will appear on the site before the election date in June.

One thing that is happening is that they’re getting blogging. Sue Nunn, who heads to Brussels today in advance of a live broadcast tomorrow with the current Ireland East MEPs, is blogging. There’s also two hustings blogs running, the Kilkenny one packing a bit of a no-holds-barred approach to the local elections while the Carlow one has just gotten off the ground.

Sue’s show is live tomorrow from 10am to 12pm and you can catch the stream via the KCLR website.