Ticket Services Manager, Eric Fels, may be one of the first faces you may see while visiting your Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Eric has been with the Center since 2022 and has loved being a part of the team. With his position, Eric connects and works with many departments throughout the Center including marketing and creative services, as well as touring production teams to fulfill ticketing needs. From his day-to-day tasks to what drew him to the Center in the first place, Eric provided a closer look into the world of ticket services at your Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.
Prior to joining the Center team, Eric had no background in ticketing or the performing arts industry. “My prior experience is wildly varied, having worked with the U.S. Forest Service, as Director of Operations at a sports facility, and as a floor supervisor for the laundry department within Yellowstone National Park,” Eric shared. The Center’s location in the Fox Valley made it an ideal place of employment for Eric as it is near family, friends, and his alma mater, Ripon College. Eric was particularly interested in working in the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s ticket office as it combined his passion for customer service and relationship-building with more numerical- and data-based duties.
Eric’s workday can consist of any number of things that require communication across the Center and with touring productions part of the four series (the Kimberly-Clark Broadway Across America – Fox Cities Series, Boldt Arts Alive! Series, Spotlight Series and Viewpoint Speaker Series) and commercial acts. From working on Ticketmaster for tickets to go on sale to building special offers on ticketing software, managing and printing tickets for patrons and Center staff to assisting other ticket agents as needs arise, Eric helps guests experience the performing arts in a variety of ways. He also assists patrons over the phone and attends several meetings to discuss team strategies and procedures organization wide. “I have had numerous interactions with folks in the area who get visibly excited when they find out where I work,” Eric said.
Working in the ticket office is not as straightforward or simple as it may seem. People may be surprised to learn that the process of getting shows ready to go on sale is a long and in-depth process. “My conversations with the show and promoter often start several months before the show is here or sometimes even on sale,” Eric shared. “Getting the show set requires a great deal of communication amongst nearly all departments here at the Center, as well as with the show itself.” Perhaps the quickest and easiest process of the building process is entering in the necessary information on the backend of Ticketmaster and the ticketing software system.
“One of our biggest challenges is assisting patrons on the night of the show who purchased their tickets from a third-party ticket seller but can’t find them,” Eric commented. “These tickets are extremely hard to track down, as the patrons are often not given all the seat information, so we are limited in our ability to provide assistance, and attempting to do so in the busyness of the pre-show rush adds stress to both the patrons and the ticket team.” He added, “The ticket agents and I, (or whoever is the manager on duty) do everything we can to ensure that the patrons are able to get into the theater and have an enjoyable experience, whether that means doing a deep dive into the tickets to try and find them in our system, or having the patron call the broker directly, or selling them new tickets to the show.”
Important to Note:
The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and Ticketmaster are the only authorized tickets sellers. Purchases from third party ticket brokers may not be valid.
While there may be some challenges when it comes to ticket services, there are also rewarding moments and feelings of success. Eric reflected, “Interestingly, the biggest sense of pride and accomplishment I feel also comes when I’m working during a show. Seeing all the excited patrons making their way into the building makes any struggles or challenges seem to disappear.” As the front line and face of the nonprofit organization, ticket agents often have memorable and meaningful interactions with patrons and community members passing by. “Folks will call us or come in thinking we are a different venue and ask us about shows we don’t have,” Eric said. “We’ve also been asked if the Family Circle is open only to families!” Though the name may imply that it is only for families, Family Circle as well as all the other seating levels are open to all ticket holders.
Eric’s favorite part about being at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is the people he works with. A good work environment and a positive culture helps people establish and build connections, deliver their best work and grow exponentially as a person. Eric reflected, “As a young professional with no background or experience in the ticketing or performing arts world, and with only one Broadway show under my belt as a patron, I was delighted at how welcoming the staff is here, from the volunteers and part-time employees up to the executive leadership team.”
In the words of Eric’s usual sign-off, “Have a shiny day.”
Interested in joining the ticket office team? Visit https://foxcitiespac.com/about-us/join-our-team/ for this and all other employment opportunities at your Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.
Written By Philomena Dorobek, Brand Storyteller
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center