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Cumbrian fans of comedian Lee Evans fuming over ticket sales

Disappointed fans of comedian Lee Evans who were turned away from Whitehaven’s Rosehill Theatre empty-handed have hit out at the way ticket sales were handled.

Related: Lee Evans to perform gig in Cumbria

The theatre announced that tickets to see the comic next month would go on sale at 10am yesterday.

However, dozens of fans had their hopes dashed when they queued at the theatre thinking that they were in line for a ticket, only to find out that the majority had been snapped up the day before.

Out of 204 tickets, only 50 were still available yesterday and these went to a handful of the people who queued at the theatre.

Rosehill director Richard Elder said that a decision had been made to sell tickets on Wednesday as the box office would not be able to cope with the demand of all ticket sales at one time. However, he admitted that it should have been made clearer that a “limited” number of tickets would be on sale yesterday morning.

One disappointed fan, Jamie McKendrey, had hoped to get four tickets to see the comedy superstar, arriving 45 minutes early. He told the News & Star that he was the 15th person in line, but he still didn’t get his tickets and is now considering boycotting the venue which he often attends.

“Lee Evans is massive,” said the 40-year-old. “It would have been fantastic to see him at Rosehill as it would have been so intimate. It just beggars belief what has happened.”

Another disgruntled fan, Christine Tyson, planned to take her partner as the April 25 gig takes place on his birthday.

The 24-year-old from Mill Hill in Cleator Moor arrived nearly an hour before tickets went on sale – but failed to get any. She is angry that theatre bosses led people to believe that all of the tickets would be on sale, not just a handful.

“When we got down we were told that they had been sold the night before,” she said. “There was lots of people there and I don’t think they sold any more than 10 – I wasn’t very pleased.”

When asked by the News & Star why the tickets were advertised as going on sale on Thursday morning, Mr Elder said: “As far as I’m concerned the tickets were on sale on Wednesday, but they started to go so quickly that we stopped selling them to keep some for Thursday.

“As a small organisation we had to manage the spectacular box office response in the best way we could – we did do our best but it’s difficult to know how to do it.

“We should have made it clearer that a limited number of tickets were available on Thursday morning and I think that is the mistake we made.

“Having done it this way, some people are interpreting it as underhand – but of course it isn’t. Whether we did it the right way or not, it was intended to keep it as open as possible. But it has sadly backfired.”

Mr Elder added that staff and volunteers purchased some of the tickets, but a large bulk of the sales came through word of mouth and from people who were not regulars.

“Inevitably word got out and as soon as a group of people know tickets are on sale, they tell their friends. I think it’s worth people remembering we have only got 204 tickets to sell – Rosehill is not large.”

He added that in future events, he would explore the idea of people applying for tickets and a ballot being held.

Have your say

why pick the smallest theatre for this show you could have filled it ten times over!!!!

Posted by albert on 14 March 2014 at 16:05

The public sector at it's best! Public servants my derrier. I feel sorry for the good folk of Whitehaven who have clearly been stitched up. Unfortunately, I note the real story is only being discussed in this thread - and not in the main body of the article. Why not N and S? Outrage as tickets for top comic sold to families of theatre staff before going on offer to general public.

Posted by SarahM on 10 March 2014 at 14:45

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