E.A. Rawlinson Centre staff look back on successful year

Eric Bell
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E.A. Rawlinson Centre general manager Darren McCaffery and marketing director Linda Jensen are happy with the calibre of performers they have been able to attract to Prince Albert over the past year.

“Awesome” was the only word E.A. Rawlinson Centre general manager Darren McCaffery had to describe the past year at the performing arts venue.

“There were a lot of expectations as to what we were going to do to sort of up our game and I think starting off the season with Blue Rodeo, and Kenny Rogers, The Beach Boys, and Jason Alexander was great,” McCaffery said.

The year 2013 was also special as the centre as they celebrated its 10th anniversary in October, an event marketing director Linda Jensen said was a great way to celebrate the success of the Centre over the past decade.

“It was such a feel-good day,” Jensen said of the anniversary celebration in October. “People were happy to be there and celebrate with us so it was a nice event with a good turnout.”

Perhaps the biggest announcement of the year came when the E.A. Rawlinson Centre announced that they had booked Bryan Adams to perform in the new year. People lined up outside the building and the show sold out within hours to get a chance at one of the 600 available tickets.

“We were predicting that was going to happen,” Jensen said. “The box office was loaded with calls as soon as the announcement was made. It’s not unusual to sell out a show, it’s new to us to have the huge volume.”

The fast sellout was a learning experience for the centre in terms of how they will deal with shows that attract large amounts of people in the future.

“There were lots of people who couldn’t get online, we were so clogged,” McCaffery said. “And with our telephone system, we have one operator and we have one attendant in the box office going. So we had three systems going but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the demand. It was exciting, but we also learned a lesson that we need to think about if we are going to start doing this type of stuff how can we deal with the volume of people so it’s less frustrating.”

Being able to book Bryan Adams was a big step for the Centre, as they are now on Live Nation’s list of venues. McCaffery says that this means Prince Albert can expect some big name artists to be visiting in the coming years.

“Once Live Nation puts you on their list of venues, you can get anything they are launching,” McCaffery said. Everything huge on tour is pretty much run on Live Nation.”

Jensen gives credit to the Centre being able to attract big names to the growing support they receive from the community.

“We are now at the stage where we are attracting wonderful artists that want to perform here,” Jensen said. “But if our ticket sales were lackluster we wouldn’t be able to. You have to have the support from the people to come to the shows.”

Both E.A. Rawlinson Centre employees had their own personal highlights throughout the year. For McCaffery,  it was seeing Blue Rodeo perform to a sold-out crowd. Jensen thought being able to hear the Beach Boys in Prince Albert was a high point for the year.

“I remember the day the Beach Boys were here,” Jensen said. “I remember going up to the lobby during the sound check. I could hear them on stage, and it was one of their more popular songs and I thought ‘oh my god, this is the Beach Boys, and they are here in Prince Albert at our venue.’ I had been promoting the show but when I actually heard the sound check, that was amazing.”

The staff at the Rawlinson Centre is looking forward to the coming year and are busy planning for the dozens of performances that 2014 will bring.

“In terms of planning the season, we always wonder how we are going to top the previous one, but you just continue looking for variety and top notch stuff and you just go one step at a time,” Jensen said.

Organizations: Rawlinson Centre, Beach Boys, Daily Herald Prince Albert

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