Backstage at The Lowry: Nicola Harper Lee – Group Sales & Ticket Sales Assistant

I started here at The Lowry just over thirteen years ago, in June 2001.   I came from working in ticket sales in the call centre at Ticketmaster and was excited to transition to a real live theatre!

I have worked full-time in the Box Office throughout my time here, and for the past four years or so have concentrated mainly on Group Sales, selling tickets for group gallery visits, talks, tours and theatre trips, and schools’ educational workshops.  We sell to all kinds of groups, from schools and home educated groups through to WIs and U3As, work outings and even birthday parties!  We mainly work via the phone and email, finding out what groups would like to do on their visits here, whether it be just a wander round the galleries under their own steam, a guided tour by our Front of House team where they find out about the architecture of the building and peek inside the theatres, or seeing a show.  We then select and reserve their tickets, offer them a payment period, and make sure any extras they might need like interval ice creams, a risk assessment or a place to park their coach are taken care of.

Schools’ workshops are one of the most important things The Lowry offers in my opinion, and it’s great to be able to be part of that process.  We help teachers choose what will be most appropriate for their group – learning about Lowry’s portraits or landscape paintings, using dance or drama to interpret his work, or even 3D modelling.  There are workshops tied into shows we have on here such as War Horse, or our talented artists can even create a bespoke workshop designed just for the group’s area of study.  We cater for all ages and levels of ability, and it’s a joy to see school groups walking through the building clutching their newly created pieces of Lowry-style art.  After sitting in on a workshop and observing the process, I can talk confidently to teachers about the skills and experience our artists are able to share with the children.

On an average day, I arrive here at 9.30 and take up position at my desk to take emails and phone calls from groups customers and also regular ticket sales.  Sometimes I pop down to the counter to serve any group bookers who might have called in in person, and sometimes I attend meetings related to various ticket sales matters.  Recently I attended a meeting about the relaxed performances we offer, which are theatre performances specifically aimed at people with learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders.  It was really valuable to gain insight into how this new type of show works and how we can best serve disabled people who are keen to see our shows.  As a disabled person myself, it’s always great to be able to contribute to this important aspect of what we do.

I love working in such a modern vibrant building and helping people come to see shows they love and experience things they may never have before.  Selling for busy and in-demand shows can be hard work, but when a customer tells you how much they have enjoyed a visit, I find it very rewarding.