As part of a new series of blog posts, we take an in depth look at some of our customers’ business successes. I interviewed John Mullan from the Halifax Amateur Operatic Society and asked for details of how they got where they are today and what advice they would give to others.
The Halifax AOS are an amateur operatic society based in Halifax with a core of 70-80 members. They run two shows a year, usually in April and September, with their next show The Witches of Eastwick commencing in April. They perform at large theatres, but operate their own rehearsal rooms, which are used to rehearse for the shows. They also let out these rooms to generate income.
• What has been your biggest success?
We staged Titanic in 2012 with the Saturday night performance coinciding with the 100 year anniversary of the distress call – to the hour!
We have also had more than one member who has gone on to appear in the West End!
• What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
It costs us approximately £40,000 to stage a musical, which includes costume and theatre hire, licensing rights, ticket sale charges, publicity and staff costs. The biggest challenge for us is selecting the right shows to achieve the level of income required to meet the ever increasing costs.
• What’s your main use of energy?
We have a reasonable business energy bill which is essentially for heating, lighting and power to keep the fridges on in the bar.
• Where do you see your business in 12 months?
We have a room downstairs which needs work before we can consider hiring it out. We’d like to refurbish it to allow 2 different groups to work at the same time. This means that we can increase our income which will help with the ever-increasing cost of running the Society.
• Do you have a business or personal hero?
Our Chairman, Geoff Cowgill. He does the job that a chairman should do – allows everyone the scope to do the job without micro management. He has great communication skills and is there if you need him. Then he picks up the slack if someone hasn’t been able to do a particular task, and makes sure that we keep our promises.