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Geoff

The "new" Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

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Well yes- your comment on the ROH site JohnS was very sensible and reasonable- wish I could say the same for the jargon-filled non-response.

Where else should we expect ROH news if not on their website? And in fact they may be a little behind the times, as people, and indeed young people, leave Facebook in their droves.....

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3 hours ago, Mary said:

Well yes- your comment on the ROH site JohnS was very sensible and reasonable- wish I could say the same for the jargon-filled non-response.

Where else should we expect ROH news if not on their website? And in fact they may be a little behind the times, as people, and indeed young people, leave Facebook in their droves.....

the thing is that literally billions of people are on facebook worldwide. It is by far and away the most popular social media site, and young people leaving in "droves" barely makes a dent in it.

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4 hours ago, jm365 said:

As a Facebook 'refusnik', I do hope that information about performances etc. will continue to be available to those of us who don't use social media.

 

Those of us who agree with this should make the point to the ROH direct asap. Where might be best? Posting on news, an email to some executive (but who?) or somewhere else?

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Often young people don't leave Facebook exactly but do have another accounts like Instagram or Twitter for example that they just use more regularly etc. 

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6 hours ago, JohnS said:

 I'd been expecting my Royal Opera House post to have gone through moderation and was pleased to see that my post was there  (Simon Smith), together with a reply, although I do wonder if 'News' may rather wither - sadly.  

 

It certainly seems that way🙁

 

I get why they want to concentrate more on social media content but it seems a shame to let their own website go a bit.  And also, considering how much they've harped on about wanting the ROH to be welcoming to everyone it seems like when it comes to online content it's a different story.  You're very welcome (if you use facebook).  

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i think the ROH is now so keen on attracting new audiences, both by its Open Up project and its  preference in using social media rather than the web site that it will be in danger of alienating its existing audience. It's not as if they suffer from poor audiences, most performances i attend are sold out, or nearly so. Having said that, I think it's an unwelcome trend in theatres generally today. They're so keen to encourage new audiences they disregard their core audiences who have supported them for many years.

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8 hours ago, Geoff said:

 

Those of us who agree with this should make the point to the ROH direct asap. Where might be best? Posting on news, an email to some executive (but who?) or somewhere else?

 

People could add comments to the News page where Chris Shipman gives the Royal Opera House's reply.  That has the advantage of being public.

http://www.roh.org.uk/news/royal-opera-house-open-up

 

It's also possible to email the Royal Opera House via the 'contacts' page.  Those emails are not published and you may not get a reply.

http://www.roh.org.uk/contact

 

Or it's possible to write/email Alex Beard or Friends (if a Friend).

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11 hours ago, toursenlair said:

the thing is that literally billions of people are on facebook worldwide. It is by far and away the most popular social media site, and young people leaving in "droves" barely makes a dent in it.

That is a fair point and I do appreciate it. However, the point being made here is not, that we think ROH should not use Facebook at all-of course, as you say it is still very popular, and that would not make sense.

The point I am making-with others above- is just that they shouldn't stop using their own website, and we would prefer them not to put things on Facebook and nowhere else, - because a lot of people have stopped using it, for very good reasons.

 

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and a lot of people have never used it, i.e. Me!  I don't see why I should be railroaded into using this particular form of social media because an art form I spend huge amounts of money supporting, decides it doesn't want to communicate with me.

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4 hours ago, ninamargaret said:

i think the ROH is now so keen on attracting new audiences, both by its Open Up project and its  preference in using social media rather than the web site that it will be in danger of alienating its existing audience. It's not as if they suffer from poor audiences, most performances i attend are sold out, or nearly so. Having said that, I think it's an unwelcome trend in theatres generally today. They're so keen to encourage new audiences they disregard their core audiences who have supported them for many years.

Ninamargaret - it is a complete mystery to me.  Of course new audiences are desirable but not to the extent of freezing out the people who support you.

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I think this has been mentioned on another thread here regards some Groups/organisations only communicating their info to Group members via Facebook or other social media eg : more recently What's App.

I had to join Facebook in the end to get certain info from a "closed" group I belonged to ( eg videos of dance rehearsals we had attended, class venues and any changes etc and workshops) as otherwise others in the group had to keep emailing me with it! 

 

I think Facebook and similar can be very useful for many people but I don't think organisations should assume you belong or want to belong to it etc. 

 

The lack of Loyalty issue to long standing customers is everywhere now though.....telephone companies, gas/electric suppliers. They are all busy trying to attract NEW customers so that long standing ones tend to get forgotten and may be forced into the modern trend of changing suppliers all the time to get a good deal! Not something you can really do with the ROH!

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I think we must have been complaining about the ROH disregarding its existing audience for about a decade now, haven't we?  The recent swingeing price rises on some lower-priced tickets for some productions being just one of the more recent symptoms.

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I am quite curious about this 'must bring new people in' thing.  Every production I go to is full so where are all the new people to sit? Or is it just that the regulars are 'the wrong kind of snow' and therefore need to be exchanged for more desirable newbies?

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1 hour ago, penelopesimpson said:

I am quite curious about this 'must bring new people in' thing.  Every production I go to is full so where are all the new people to sit? Or is it just that the regulars are 'the wrong kind of snow' and therefore need to be exchanged for more desirable newbies?

 

When all the regulars have popped their clogs and new people haven't been enticed where will the audience be then?

 

I won't be at the "new" ROH till the end of November but hopefully any teething problems will be resolved by then and all will be rosy in the garden!  Anyway I'm looking forward to seeing and enjoying it!  The Lowry has always had an open door policy and there have never been any problems there as far as I am aware.

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Janet, I get that.  But that assumes that none of us bring in people to ROH (not true) that there isn't renewal constantly going on as has always happened and, in my opinion, always will.    I am certainly not against it - very little gives me more pleasure than taking friends to ROH and to the ballet or opera for their first experience - but it just seems to me that the emphasis is all wrong.  Open door is also fine with me but there must be some control during performance times - IF this proves necessary.

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5 hours ago, penelopesimpson said:

I am quite curious about this 'must bring new people in' thing.  Every production I go to is full so where are all the new people to sit? Or is it just that the regulars are 'the wrong kind of snow' and therefore need to be exchanged for more desirable newbies?

 

There is an unfortunate reality, which is that unseen cultural bureaucrats place extraordinary pressures on organisations. For example the British Library has currently degenerated into a place for teenagers to flirt, eat snacks, use wifi - and discover they can't take the books out like in a "normal" library. Staff there have told me that if I can I should wait a month or so and come back, once word has got out to first year college students that this library isn't "any good" and the atmosphere might return at least somewhat to that of a serious research library. 

 

The reason for this chaos? The BL was given a new metric: what counts now is "footfall" (people into the building) and "increased membership", so they do all they can to persuade all and sundry to apply for readers tickets as they have to show more people joining year on year.

 

Something similar goes on at the ROH. They are no doubt under some kind of pressure to prove to the Arts Council that they are "broadening" their appeal, ie selling tickets (or at least coffee) to ever more and more diverse audiences, for fear of their grant being fiddled with. That is how state sponsored culture is run, but none of us plebs gets a say in these policies: they are devised, not by people at the ROH, but DCMS types or the people at the Arts Council who design the forms, and the ROH has to go along with the game. 

 

I know someone - no names, no names - who runs a significant Arts Council supported venue and pays "ethnic" people to sit in highly visible seats on the nights the Arts Council is scheduled to make their inspection visits. This person - who is very nice, liberal and normally honest  - is ashamed of such finagling but knows the box-ticking (eg to prove a diverse ethnic mix) can made or break state support for their organisation. I assume the staff there are also asked to lie about their sexuality etc on the Arts Council forms in order to get the place more brownie points. 

 

Makes me pretty upset but I have no idea what to do to change the status quo. I can't help being a white, middle class male senior citizen with a wife and family: should I stop going to the ROH to make their statistics just that little bit less white, middle class etc etc?

 

Edited by Geoff
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17 hours ago, Geoff said:

 

There is an unfortunate reality, which is that unseen cultural bureaucrats place extraordinary pressures on organisations. For example the British Library has currently degenerated into a place for teenagers to flirt, eat snacks, use wifi - and discover they can't take the books out like in a "normal" library. Staff there have told me that if I can I should wait a month or so and come back, once word has got out to first year college students that this library isn't "any good" and the atmosphere might return at least somewhat to that of a serious research library. 

 

The reason for this chaos? The BL was given a new metric: what counts now is "footfall" (people into the building) and "increased membership", so they do all they can to persuade all and sundry to apply for readers tickets as they have to show more people joining year on year.

 

Something similar goes on at the ROH. They are no doubt under some kind of pressure to prove to the Arts Council that they are "broadening" their appeal, ie selling tickets (or at least coffee) to ever more and more diverse audiences, for fear of their grant being fiddled with. That is how state sponsored culture is run, but none of us plebs gets a say in these policies: they are devised, not by people at the ROH, but DCMS types or the people at the Arts Council who design the forms, and the ROH has to go along with the game. 

 

I know someone - no names, no names - who runs a significant Arts Council supported venue and pays "ethnic" people to sit in highly visible seats on the nights the Arts Council is scheduled to make their inspection visits. This person - who is very nice, liberal and normally honest  - is ashamed of such finagling but knows the box-ticking (eg to prove a diverse ethnic mix) can made or break state support for their organisation. I assume the staff there are also asked to lie about their sexuality etc on the Arts Council forms in order to get the place more brownie points. 

 

Makes me pretty upset but I have no idea what to do to change the status quo. I can't help being a white, middle class male senior citizen with a wife and family: should I stop going to the ROH to make their statistics just that little bit less white, middle class etc etc?

 

Brilliant post, Geoff.  This goes on everywhere; it is as if white, middle-class people beyond the first flush of youth must be replaced by a more 'diverse' audience.  Bristol University used to run a series of day classes on Jane Austen but these stopped because everybody who signed up (and paid handsomely) to go was white.  The classes were open to all but because people who were not white chose not to attend (and why shouldn't they?), it was all closed down.

 

I absolutely adore London for its diverse cosmopolitan make-up and could wish that sleep Dorset where I live had more interesting incomers than the overwhelming numbers of retired people who come here.  But the cause of diversity is ill-served by these over-analysed statistics and reach out initiatives that ignore core audiences.

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2 hours ago, penelopesimpson said:

it is as if white, middle-class people beyond the first flush of youth must be replaced

 

Excepting, of course, the bureaucrats themselves. :(

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I haven't seen the new ROH and am trying to understand how all this is supposed to work. Say a family without any background  in ballet is coming down to London and have a couple of hours to spare. What can  they expect to get from visiting the ROH? Are they better checking a schedule in advance and/or coming at a certain time? 

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Well, they can come for a lunchtime concert, or to visit the shop, or to have a look round (auditorium presumably only on guided tours still?), or to have something to eat - but then come to think of it they could have done all that previously anyway.  Plus there will be various classes, events and so on, but I'm assuming it would be better to check the schedule and see what's on rather than just turning up at a random time.

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I had assumed that there is more space for photo / costume exhibitions. Is this not the case?

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I find it slightly alarming that today, going to Die Walkure, at no point was my ticket checked. I suggested to the usher at the entrance to SC that he might like to see my ticket but he wasn't really interested. So what's happened to the bag searches we all had to go through?

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2 hours ago, Odyssey said:

I had assumed that there is more space for photo / costume exhibitions. Is this not the case?

 

There ought to be.  I just don't think I can remember at the moment whether they have actually got that much more stuff up than they used to.  It's in different places, but whether there's actually more of it ...  Mind you, I only went in on the opening weekend, so perhaps exhibitions will be an evolving feature. 

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Unfortunately just at the moment some of the events on offer at lunchtime or other join in activities are on the same day of the week.

Some are all on Mondays some all on Fridays. I know these events are probably primarily aimed at people who work or live fairly near Covent Garden but I do hope there will be some variation to these days as time goes on but perhaps they want to keep the same days so people who perhaps work nearby can get used to that regularity and so more likely to turn up? 

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15 hours ago, ninamargaret said:

I find it slightly alarming that today, going to Die Walkure, at no point was my ticket checked. I suggested to the usher at the entrance to SC that he might like to see my ticket but he wasn't really interested. So what's happened to the bag searches we all had to go through?

We actually asked about this at yesterday's Die Walkure and were told categorically that, no, bag searches would not be carried out in future.

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Even if the terror alert level gets increased to "imminent"? :o

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1 hour ago, Scheherezade said:

We actually asked about this at yesterday's Die Walkure and were told categorically that, no, bag searches would not be carried out in future.

Really? That is disturbing....We had quite careful bag searches at the Royal Albert Hall yesterday evening.

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At least I won't have to stuff an M&S sandwich and a flask up my jumper any more.

(I used to think it was a bit unfair to take in food but not any more....)

 

But no security checks is worrying. What on earth is the thinking behind it?

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 An email reminding me of Mayerling next week..."We open the Royal Opera House doors for a performance 1 hour and 30 minutes before curtain up". 

I am not sure exactly which doors they mean, or how this fits in with the Open Up hoo-ha...

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I don't think they've got what information is available on the web site up to date. Still references to building work because of the open up project appear under the access section. Expect they've been too busy working out how to get rid of us boring customers!

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