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Golden tickets seek to widen St James’ appeal

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A GOLDEN opportunity to attend an event at St James could be landing on some lucky islanders’ door mats in the next few days.

Dawn Gallienne, head of corporate engagement at Guernsey Post, and Jon Bisson, the new executive director of St James, with one of the golden tickets which can be found in a few of the venue’s events guide, which are being delivered in the post. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 21678249)

Guernsey Post has teamed up with the venue to deliver its new quarterly events guide and hidden inside some of the leaflets is a golden ticket entitling two people to attend any of the events in the programme.

The move is one of the ideas aimed at opening St James up to a wider audience as the building celebrates its bicentenary.

Recently appointed executive director Jon Bisson said the goal was to get more young people going to events there.

‘St James is undergoing a period of expansion and to attract a broader audience to this fantastic venue, we are working really hard to get high-profile names on the bill and we need public support to ensure St James remains financially viable,’ he said.

That is reflected in the programme, which includes several nights set aside for gigs, the details of which will be announced nearer the time.

There are also plans to stage a festival of local bands in October, a five-day folk and blues festival including workshops and a ‘big contemporary classical’ event.

‘I’ve been given a pretty free range to introduce a lot of new styles of music,’ he said.

Comedian Milton Jones has been booked for October and at a later date there will be a performance by Shakespeare’s Globe’s touring company, who bring a taste of theatre from the Bard’s era to 21st century audiences.

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‘There are some very exciting announcements to come,’ said Mr Bisson.

Guernsey Post is set to distribute some 29,000 of the guides – a far cry from the 1,200 that were sent out previously.

‘And those only went to people who requested them,’ said Mr Bisson.

‘St James is there for everyone in Guernsey, and people need to be reminded of that, and we couldn’t reach all of them without Guernsey Post’s help.’

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While he appreciated that some people who have used St James before might feel aggrieved at the arrival of contemporary events at the venue, he said that these would help fund classical music events, which attract only a small audience.

Guernsey Post’s head of corporate engagement Dawn Gallienne said it was pleased to be able to support St James.

‘When we look to provide sponsorship for charities we try to do it on things that the whole community can benefit from,’ she said.

‘We look forward to working with the organisation over the next couple of years, delivering the latest calendars, and hope to help them achieve their target of increasing ticket sales and financial viability.’

n A new St James website and online booking system is set to go live at the end of the month.

Mark Ogier

By Mark Ogier
News reporter

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