Harrogate Theatre


Harrogate Theatre

Russell Telecom performs a star turn for theatre


Built just before the turn of the century, Harrogate Theatre opened on 11 January 1900 with a charity gala in aid of British soldiers fighting the Boer War in South Africa. Known as The Grand Opera House, the theatre was designed by architect, Frank Tugwell; who was also the inspiration behind the Futurist Theatre in Scarborough and the Savoy Theatre in London.


Over the last one hundred or so years many famous names of the stage and screen have trod the boards at Harrogate Theatre. Stars have included Trevor Howard, Charlie Chaplin, Sarah Bernhardt, Arnold Ridley, Brian Murphy, Kate OʼMara, Martin Shaw, John Noakes and Ben Kingsley.

When it came to upgrading its telecoms systems, Harrogate Theatre was delighted to choose Russell Telecom as its preferred supplier. Russell Telecom has over 25 yearsʼ experience of meeting the telecommunications needs of numerous UK businesses and organisations.

“From the word go, Russell Telecom was right for the job. The solution has enabled our business to increase its efficiency and offer a better service to our customers while saving us money.”

Caroline Burnett, Operations Manager, Harrogate Theatre


Harrogate Theatre wanted to replace its existing telecoms system with a solution that presented a more efficient way of handling the large volume of incoming calls, particularly to its box office. The theatre also required a voicemail facility that could be accessed by all.


Russell Telecom undertook a thorough evaluation of the theatreʼs telecommunications system beforedeciding that the NEC SV8100 solution would suit its requirements perfectly. The SV8100 is one of the newest digital and IP phone systems from NEC and has been specifically designed to meet the needs of all types of businesses and organisations. The system includes an integrated digital voicemail, which not only provides a night and day service and auto attendant but also features call recording.


Harrogate Theatre has two phone numbers for the box office and an admin number; both of which have multiple lines associated with them. The box office number has a high number of incoming calls and can become extremely busy at peak times.

Russell Telecom set up a queuing system so that the theatre could handle a greater number of calls more quickly. This feature has enabled the theatre to staff the box office on demand. The admin number is directed to the operator. To free up staff time and to further increase efficiency, Russell Telecom has implemented an autoattendant facility for the theatre, which allows callers to be automatically transferred to an extension without the intervention of an operator or receptionist.

The theatre has also benefitted from the implementation of a record feature for when administrative staff are taking detailed information over the phone. Staff also now enjoy voicemail facilities, so that when they are away from their desks, they never miss important calls.


Harrogate Theatre has been very pleased with the solution provided by Russell Telecom. The SV8100 has been extremely useful for handling and helping to prioritise the high volume of calls that the theatre receives on a daily basis. The new system has enabled a freeing up of staff time to deal with other key administrative tasks, including to have an increased customer-facing role.

Caroline Burnett, Harrogate Theatreʼs Operations Manager, commented:

“From the word go, Russell Telecom was right for the job. “Installation took two days as planned and didnʼt overrun. Training was efficient and the new telephones were easy to learn.

Caroline added: “Itʼs allowed our business to increase our efficiency and offer a better service to our customers while saving us money.

“With the new box office queuing system, calls are answered much more quickly. This provides a better service and greatly reduces the need to call customers back, so our phone bills will be more than halved. It really does provide us with the functionality we need.”