A lack of ticket sales at the NAC led to the Algonquin Commons Theatre hosting Paco Peña’s Flamencura on Nov. 25 at the last minute.
The Spanish music and dance mostly attracted the National Arts Centre’s patrons, where the event was originally scheduled, and not Algonquin’s usual student body.
Ken MacLeod, the manager of theatre operations at the Commons Theatre, confirmed the venue was changed six days before the show.
“We are contacted from time to time for these sorts of last minute bookings,” MacLeod told the Times in an e-mail. “But it doesn’t happen often – and when it does, we don’t usually have the availability to make them work.”
On this occasion, the time was available and the Theatre was able to cooperate with the promotions team for the event and make it happen. And though Peña has played sold-out shows at the NAC before, only around 300 people came to the event.
“My assumption would be that the show likely didn’t sell as well as it was supposed to,” MacLeod said in the e-mail. “To improve the show experience for the audience and the artist, the event was moved to a more intimate venue.”
The venue change didn’t stop the passion from flowing, at one point a patron shouted “Viva le España!” which roughly translates to “Long Live Spain,” during a standing ovation.
Andy Conde, a 44-year-old general manager for a leasing company, has been to five of Paco Peña’s shows and the venue doesn’t matter to him.
“I’ve known my wife for 14 years and since I met her it’s interested me,” said Conde. “My wife is Spanish and I’m Portuguese so we enjoy it because it’s a very animated, theatrical event.
“It’s good for the soul.”
Franca Marinelli, a 52-year-old human resources worker, enjoyed the show simply as something non-typical to do on a Wednesday night.
“(My favourite part was) the energy it had and bringing the Spanish culture to Ottawa,” said Marinelli.
Tickets were priced around $70, and while perhaps reflective of the premier event, the show certainly wasn’t affordable to a student’s budget.