Top Ranking for Customer Service

As the Classic Theatre Festival looks back on its 4th summer season this Thanksgiving, it has plenty to be thankful for. Its two summer shows – Neil Simon’s “The Star-Spangled Girl” and Leslie Stevens’ “The Marriage-Go-Round” – were both popular and critical successes that drew thousands of tourists to town, the equivalent of between one and two tour buses daily. A key part of that success was the Festival’s volunteer team, led by Madeleine Labelle, who coordinated scores of people involved in putting together the sets, maintaining the front-of-house operations, and assisting audience members with special needs. Their efforts, while already appreciated by visitors, were recently acknowledged through the Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization’s (OHTO) OHvation Customer Service Designation Program, which gave the Festival top marks. As a result, the Festival will be listed among those events and services in this tourism region that are the top ranked with respect to customer service. The program is based on the Mystery Shopper model, in which the host does not know when the shopper will show up. Among those areas rated were service delivery, employee attitudes and presentation, knowledge of the area, ease of finding the space given clear and understandable signage, accessibility of the website, whether staff maintained eye contact and showed an interest in questions and concerns, and quality of the experience. The mystery shopper found the play – “The Marriage-Go-Round”– was “professional” and “delightful.” “Part of what makes the Festival such an important tourism draw for the town of Perth and surrounding communities is the high customer service standards we set for everyone who works with us,” says Labelle. “Our motto is professional standards with a community feel, and it’s clear from this designation that our approach not only works, but feels great for everyone involved too.” While the Festival gets set to announce its 2014 summer season, which will include some new programming enhancements that will be focused on adding to the experience of visiting Perth, Artistic Producer Laurel Smith is feeling “blessed” to see such support from community volunteers. “We are so lucky to have a solid group of folks who really care about what we are doing and are committed to making the Festival as good an experience as possible as we approach out 5th anniversary,” Smith says. Details on the 5th anniversary season will be announced soon at Continue reading

Announcing Fifth Anniversary Season

The Classic Theatre’s Festival’s fifth anniversary season of hits from the golden age of Broadway and the London Stage promises a number of innovative additions while staging entertaining productions that will draw audiences from across Eastern and Central Ontario as well as the U.S. The Festival’s hugely popular Holiday Sale returns this year, whereby anyone can purchase a voucher before December 31 that entitles them to 20% off any ticket, with the freedom to pick their actual show dates closer to summer. The Festival’s summer season will open with Neil Simon’s Broadway debut, the uproariously funny “Come Blow Your Horn,” Simon’s comedic take on the swinging bachelor lifestyle of the early 1960s. The story of a ladies’ man who appears to tire of juggling girlfriends, and his younger brother who idolizes his sibling and wants to follow in his footsteps, the play features trademark Simon characters, from a pair of outrageous parents with unforgettable one-liners to a bubble-headed airline stewardess smitten with the hope of a Hollywood career, and a less than successful singer whose latest achievement is performing “Why Not Take All of Me” while dressed as a sausage. “Come Blow Your Horn” runs July 11-August 3. “This play really set the stage for what followed with Simon’s career,” says Artistic Producer Laurel Smith, who notes that audience requests for more Simon plays after the Festival’s 2013 hit production of “The Star-Spangled Girl” contributed to this choice. “This is an affectionate look at family, the tensions that arise when children do not meet parental expectations, and finding your way in a world of mixed messages about relationships. Just reading the play, we found ourselves laughing out loud, so you can imagine how much audiences will enjoy this once it’s up on the stage.” The Festival’s second show is a new direction for the company, one of the all-time great mystery thrillers, Frederick Knott’s “Dial M for Murder.” Originally produced in 1952 and later turned into a classic Alfred Hitchcock film, the plot follows the dastardly plans of a has-been tennis player who arranges the murder of his wealthy wife. The intricacies of the scheme, the investigation by Scotland Yard, and the possibility that the plotter may be caught leave audiences on the edge of their seats. The New York Times called it “remarkably good theatre, tingling with excitement.” “Dial M for Murder” will run August 8-31. “Reading the play on paper is real page turner; seeing it on stage will be even more exciting,” says Smith. “Audiences will really enjoy this play, because it has all the elements that make up a good mystery, with a slow but steady build that, while working well on film, works even better live. Because audiences are so close to the stage, they feel like part of the action,” explains Smith. During 2014, the Festival will add an additional Thursday matinee, and shows will run Wed.-Sat, at 8 pm, with 2 pm matinees each Wed., Thurs., Sat. & Sun. Each matinee will feature… Continue reading