For our most recent North American Artifax user group meeting, we interviewed ArtifaxEvent administrator Sam Burke from The Bushnell to find out how she got to where she is now as Production Coordinator for a large performing arts center, and how she and her team utilize ArtifaxEvent for managing and operating their busy venue.
What took you to the Bushnell and led you to what you do now?
The Bushnell is located in Hartford, Connecticut and I actually grew up 20 minutes away. Like all local kids, I came once or twice on a field trip to see a show, but I never actually really got too into theatre until high school when I got cut from the volleyball team and they needed someone to fill in on the light board for the fall play! From there I kind of fell in love with the backstage life and realized I was kind of good at it too. Eventually, I went to Emerson College in Boston to study Stage and Production Management.
After graduation, I freelanced across the country for a while doing stage management from small scale productions to Disney’s Aladdin tour. When the Production Coordinator position at Bushnell became available and my brother announced he was expecting a baby, it seemed like a good time to come home and put my production skills to use!
What kind of venue is the Bushnell?
The Bushnell is a two-theatre venue with one large theatre, one smaller theatre and a couple of ancillary spaces, such as a banquet hall for weddings and other events.
At The Bushnell, we do everything from Children’s Theatre to Broadway (which is our bread and butter) but we also do holiday parties, rentals, and the usual venue things.
Can you explain how The Bushnell manages operational information in ArtifaxEvent?
ArtifaxEvent is our bible when it comes to our calendar. Every single person in the building knows that ArtifaxEvent is the end-all-be-all in terms of who has claim and stake to which rooms. Bookings go straight into ArtifaxEvent as soon a booking inquiry comes in for shows, when our programming department is seeking out shows or if someone is looking to do a wedding they’ll put in a hold as well.
We have two main departments: Programming and Event Services. Event Services takes care of the non-ticketed events and Programming takes care of the ticketed events. Once in a while, there are gray area events where we cross over a little and work together. It’s very important when we are making booking decisions that we put everything in Artifax that we can.
When it comes to the operational side of things I pull a custom report that we call our Event Outline. I send this report out roughly 48 hours before the event to all appropriate parties and then they use that as their go-to for what needs to happen when and where.
One of The Bushnell's Event Outlines:
We also have a couple of Calendar Reports which we have customized so they pull information relevant to different departments (Front of House, Stage and so on).
Two examples of The Bushnell's Calendar Reports:
While we do use a couple of other software programs across the organization (one for ticketing and one for outside client interactions), for internal communications, it’s all ArtifaxEvent.
Do you use any other methods for distributing information from Artifax?
The calendar that feeds into Outlook has been helpful for accessing information remotely. Also, we have a lot of folks that need to know ahead of time if an event is confirmed so they can start to schedule. I have one calendar that’s for confirmed events and one that shows everything in Artifax so I can turn that on and off on my Outlook and see availability if someone has a last-minute request. Plus, we have more pared down reports, such as the one that we give to volunteers so they don’t get inundated with information.
How did you come to be the Artifax guru at your organization?
I actually inherited managing ArtifaxEvent from my predecessor. I will say that it is very helpful to have the Production Coordinator looking after the system since I get into the nitty-gritty of things. I’m the person directly talking to the shows coming in and collecting these details. In my position, I’m the information gatherer, so for me to input that information into ArtifaxEvent makes sense for us.