Couple left reeling over theatre ‘mix up’

Joannah and Emma Hennessy had booked some theatre seats with the Theatre Royal for a performance of Dracula. They got to their seats to find them occupied by someone else  who refused to move.
Joannah and Emma Hennessy had booked some theatre seats with the Theatre Royal for a performance of Dracula. They got to their seats to find them occupied by someone else who refused to move.
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A couple were left reeling when a special night out to the theatre turned sour following a ‘mix up’ with VIPs over seats.

Emma and Joannah Hennessy booked seats in a dress circle box at the Theatre Royal for a performance of Bury Theatre Workshop’s Dracula on Friday but were surprised to find them occupied.

After asking the party to move four times, they say a representative from the Theatre Workshop told them ‘this is the Mayor and Mayoress - we were told we had this box to ourselves’ before closing the door on them.

Theatre Royal staff found them seats in a box next door to the one they had originally booked.

The evening, which was booked with vouchers given to them as a wedding present, was intended to celebrate their anniversary and Emma having her last operation for breast cancer.

They booked those particular seats as they ‘were considered the best in the theatre’.

The pair, of Corsbie Close, Bury, feel the party ‘used position and office to ensure they took and kept the best seats’.

Emma said: “It was done in a way that wasn’t very pleasant. It was the insinuation - how dare you this is the mayor and mayoress’.”

However, the office for the Mayor of St Edmundsbury has confirmed that former mayors Frank and Pat Warby attended the performance as current mayor Cllr Tim Marks was ill and the deputy mayor was unavailable.

The party had five seats booked in the box with another two reserved by the Hennessys.

In an email to the couple, Christine Rush, policy officer and a PA at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, apologised for the ‘apparent mix up over seats’. She added that the former mayors were ‘very much willing to move but the production company who was their host was very insistent that they stayed as she did have tickets in this box’.

Tim Lodge, chairman of the Bury Theatre Workshop, said: “I’ve apologised on behalf of Bury Theatre Workshop and offered them tickets to our next Theatre Royal production which is The Graduate.”

Emma and Joannah say they are going to donate the tickets to St Nicholas Hospice Care.

A spokeswoman at the Theatre Royal said the incident was the product of a ‘slight misunderstanding regarding both parties’ seating arrangements’. Chief executive Simon Daykin has met with the couple to apologise for the disruption.