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COALFACE have worked closely with numerous clients in the arts, cultural and entertainment sector. From experience they believe that this industry thrives on public engagement, interaction and understanding their audiences, all whilst satisfying the needs and requirements of Stakeholders who they rely heavily on for funding. For this reason, amongst others, COALFACE work closely with The Tessitura Network to deliver high customer engagement and drive sales for new and repeat custom.  

Tessitura was chosen primarily due to it’s capabilities of the Tessitura Network Express Web product (TNEW) and underlying database system letting its users analyse data across all departments of the user’s business, promote campaigns in a targeted manner and drive sales with no-fee ticketing,

The Tessitura Network comprises of more than 500 of the world’s premiere arts and cultural organisations.  These include the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, the Birmingham Hippodrome, Standard University Ticket Office and Venue Cymru.  Tessitura was developed specifically for the needs of arts, cultural and entertainment organisations, and provides a 360-degree CRM platform for all aspects of customer interaction.  

To add to the prestigious list of Tessitura customers, COALFACE were approached to develop, build and integrate for their latest Tessitura partner; Theatre Royal Newcastle. Before now the Tessitura ‘TNEW’ system was contractually licenced to a sole agency in Manchester, but recent developments have opened up licensing to others, including COALFACE.  

Theatre Royal already had an existing relationship and implementation of Tessitura, but were looking to integrate into their new website in them most straightforward transition process possible. The brief was to streamline the site in a way it could communicate it’s shows first and foremost, with the ultimate goal of driving ticket sales.  Their previous integration was based on an older TNEW system and the site design itself was convoluted and information heavy, weakening the site’s ability to sell tickets.

The new Theatre Royal website, also developed at COALFACE, now streamlines the booking process from through to the Tessitura platform.  Shortly after launching, the Newcastle Theatre Royal Trust, an independent charity, took over the management of the City Hall after North East austerity cuts threatened it with closure. COALFACE also adapted the website to promote and sell City Hall tickets alongside Theatre Royal’s own, under the one TNEW system.  Numerous features were developed from infrastructure through to software to make this a possibility.

Previous to COALFACE’s involvement, the Tessitura environment was hosted internally within Theatre Royal Premises. COALFACE identified this as a high risk scenario, in terms of network capability, security, scalability and was not the most cost-efficient possibility for Theatre Royal Newcastle.  As a result, the decision was made to host on the robust Amazon Web Services (AWS) environment, to provide a fully scalable, load balanced environment.  

This platform lets Theatre Royal have a direct control over server resources to counterbalance the high demand for their numerous shows across both the Theatre Royal venue and Newcastle City Hall.  As a result Theatre Royal only pay for the resources they need becoming even more cost effective. This provided peace of mind to the Technical and Marketing departments, by working with a well known, robust, cost effective solution such as AWS.   

By using the TNEW system, COALFACE aimed and succeeded in giving Newcastle Theatre Royal’s customers a seamless user journey. The latest offering, version 7 of the Tessitura system is home to an extensive API library within TNWE to allow full control over every aspect of ticket selling which COALFACE would need to meet its brief. Version 7 does away with outdated Flash requirements, uses the widely used Bootstrap templating framework and jQuery. This lets COALFACE develop templates for user’s ticketing pathways in future-proof and cost effective manner.

Due to template driven visual approach of the implementation, new releases can be rolled out by Tessitura with little to no updates required on the Website / TNEW implementation.

The API opens a range of possibilities - from dynamically controlling ticket availability and pricing tiers, to editing marketing copy. Customers with a COALFACE Tessitura integration won’t have to worry about duplication of work. The API also allows for further exercises in efficiency, such as Tessitura’s fully flexible visual template system. The Theatre Royal brand was merged with the Tessitura system to include a bespoke JavaScript API build by COALFACE, to support the Tessitura system.  This gave a user intuitive, visually appealing navigation between shows on the website and the Tessitura platform which wasn’t available out of the box with Tessitura.

With COALFACE’s ability to identify and expand on Tessitura’s offerings, users are able to save time, reduce cost and drive sales further than competitors in the industry who integrate with TNEW out of the box.


About the author

Ed is one of our technical directors and a specialist in Microsoft ASP.NET web development.

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