An interested article appeared in the November 21, 2003 edition of the Ham & High (Hampstead & Highgate Express) newspaper in the U.K. The article deals with some things that took place as a result of the Tori performance at the Shaw Theatre in London on November 18, 2003.
Thanks to Alan Pedder for sending this to me.
Director quits after ticket row
by Carmen Lichi
SINGER Tori Amos unwittingly became part of a battle between a community theatre group and a hotel chain when she chose a tiny King's Cross venue for her exclusive one-off UK tour date. Amos, whose hits include Cornflake Girl, chose to perform at the 465-seat Shaw Theatre in Euston Road on Tuesday after staff promoted the venue to Amos's record company Warner Brothers. The theatre is owned by its neighbour the Euston Novotel hotel and is run by community theatre company X Productions. But theatre staff said confusion over ticketing arrangements for the concert led to hundreds of angry Tori Amos fans battling over just 250 tickets. Nina Field, director of X Productions, claimed: "The hotel decided to take the gig over and call the booking a 'conference use' even though the concert fell under our remit as it was a public performance. "It was a box office fiasco. The hoteldidn't seem to tell half their staff they were dealing with the tickets, so we had hundreds of phone calls from angry Tori Amos fans who were passed back and forth between the hotel and ourselves. There were fans queuing all the way down Ossulston Street."
The friction between the hotel and the theatre is the final straw for Ms. Field, 36, who is leaving the venue in the new year after three years at the helm. She claims that since the Novotel took over the building at the beginning of this year from the Shaw Park Plaza, it has charged the theatre a non-negotiable 750 a day in rent. She also claimed that the Novotel had failed to publicise the theatre properly and had refused a request by the BBC to rent theatre space for about 200,000 a year, meaning the theatre could pay its backlog of rent. Ms. Field added: "We are a small community theatre, trying to bring performances to an impoverished area of Camden which does not have the chance to go to the theatre. I have been forced to leave because I can no longer deal with the way we are being treated."
One of the theatre's recent hits was Jellicoe: The Musical, which celebrated the life of Father Basil Jellicoe, the 1920s preist who campaigned for better social housing in Camden Town. Rob Inglis, who directed the musical, urged Camden Council to step in and save the theatre. Speaking at the full council meeting on Monday, Mr. Inglis said: "We ask the council to do all in their power to facilitate access of community events to the Shaw Theatre and follow Nina Field's example in caring for this valuable community asset." But councillors claimed that the matter was beyond planning legislation although they conceded that the council should meet with the new theatre company as soon as it takes over. A spokesman for the London Euston Novotel said: "We recognise the importance of the Shaw Theatre in the local community. Due to non-payment of fees, Novotel has given notice to X Productions and will be working with a new production company from January. The forthcoming production of Aladdin will not be affected by this. With regards to the Tori Amos concert, entrance to the event as handled entirely by the company who had booked the venue."