The following post has been written to highlight the importance of reading a contract. In this instance, I will be highlighting my recent experience with St Georges Theatre, Great Yarmouth.
On the 12 October 2017, I booked the St Georges Theatre as the venue for my show, OMG.
I had used the Theatre twice before, 6 February 2016 and 28 June 2013. On both these occasions, I was paid the following week. Indeed, having also performed at The Playhouse Theatre, Norwich, Epic Studios, Norwich and at Cromer Pier and payment was exactly the same – the following week.
Unfortunately for me, I signed the booking contract with St Georges Theatre without reading it fully. I checked how much I would be paying them to hire the Theatre and their services, the booking fee payments etc – but I didn’t check when I would be paid. I naturally assumed that it would have been the same as all the other times, the following week. This was NOT the case, it was now 30 days from invoice.
The Theatre had new management appointed and this was one of the changes they had implemented. I had not been notified on booking that the terms and conditions had changed.
This came to light a week before the show when I asked when payment would be made.
I then sent several emails asking if, like the other instances, I could be paid the following week. The Theatre Director said that she would discuss this with the Finance Department on the Friday, which was the day of my show. I met the Theatre Director in the Theatre Café that Friday where she informed me that the Finance Department were unwilling to make an earlier payment, as it was a new policy and could not be changed.
So why am I disappointed?
- Firstly, as a self-employed person, cashflow is vital to my business. I specifically scheduled the show for January as this is my quietest month and the extra revenue would have certainly helped. Having to wait 30 days from date of invoice, therefore puts financial pressure on me and my family.
- Secondly, I’m disappointed that the change in the terms and conditions weren’t highlighted to me prior to booking. Of course, I should have read through it thoroughly, but how many people would – especially when they have used the Theatre twice before? I simply would not have booked the Theatre if I had been aware.
- Thirdly, I’m disappointed with the inflexibility shown to me here – as a REPEAT CUSTOMER and LOCAL business who is PAYING the Theatre for their services, I would have thought that the Theatre may have wanted to HELP me – how difficult would it be really to simply make an earlier payment? After all, the Theatre have ALL THE MONEY FOR THE TICKET SALES IN ADVANCE, so all they are really benefiting from is extra interest on this money. So is that extra money earned on interest really worth losing a REPEAT CUSTOMER for?
SO what about the show? Yes it went well. We had just under 180 people attending, which I believe is an excellent attendance for a show at the Theatre. Tristan and Jay were both fantastic and a credit to the Theatre – thanks guys for your help. Incidentally, having checked Twitter and Facebook, from when my show was booked in October there were no posts on these Social Media sources advertising my show from St Georges Theatre which was also disappointing.
So in conclusion, once again I’d like to highlight the importance of fully reading a contract before committing.
Please feel free to share this article and add your own experiences as well. Thanks for taking the time to read this.