We caught up with Sophie Dart, finalist in the 2023 Excellence Award category, who spoke about the importance of group theatre visits and why she loves her role.

Sophie Dart, Nimax Theatres

Source: Johan Persson

Sophie has been with Nimax Theatres since July 2021 and before that worked with groups at the Royal Opera House for 20+ years. 

How did it feel to be a finalist for The Excellence Award?

I remember having to email Group Leisure & Travel to check the nomination was real! I’m not used to somebody making that effort, and I think we live in a world where we’re not used to people saying ‘I think this person’s done a good job’. 

I’d like to say thank you to this person, whoever they are, for what they’ve done and putting my name forward. In over 20 years, I’ve never had anything like that before. So for somebody to make that effort just meant the world and I was really touched. 

Theatre should be open to as many people as possible and the groups market helps enable that.

Tell us about your role

I have been with Nimax since July 2021 and my day to day role is managing all the group bookings. That equates to seven theatres and more than 3,000 seats potentially per night that we have available for groups. I deal with any group enquiries that come in either by phone or email, and I think that’s what I love most. There is no set routine as such and you never know who you will be helping. My job is basically to respond to the needs of the group organiser. I previously worked at the Royal Opera House for more than 20 years too helping with group bookings. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2021-22)

Source: Manuel Harlan

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is one of several shows that groups can book to see with Nimax. 

You must get to know lots of group organisers?

I do and I love meeting new people. You get to know a lot of the regulars and then it’s about trying to turn the new people into regulars too. It doesn’t feel like they’re customers, they’re more like friends you have known for years which is great. 

What shows do Nimax offer that groups will love?

We’ve got our big regular shows which offer great rates for groups like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Six, plus some newer shows like Little Big Things. Hadestown is sure to be a great addition to the Lyric Theatre from February 2024, as it was in London six years ago with the National Theatre, before heading to Broadway then coming back to delight the UK once again. The anticipation has just grown since its original London run and ever since it won Best Musical Theatre Album at the Grammy Awards. 

SIX the Musical, London

Source: Pamela Raith

Six tells the story of Henry VIII’s wives through their eyes.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I think booking a group in for a theatre trip is a great way for people to enjoy a show. It makes it even more accessible too, as with certain numbers I can offer people a great time at a more affordable price and that’s how it should be. Theatre should be open to as many people as possible and the groups market helps enable that. We’ve been getting constant enquiries which is great, and all our producers bear in mind the cost of tickets for groups, especially with the rise in the cost of living.

Why should groups book a West End show with Nimax?

I often get told by my regular bookers that I offer them a very quick reply, and I like to think that’s because we have that direct contact so that they understand that I’m here to help them and fully understand their needs. For all our shows, we can offer a very swift and personalised service, so people don’t have to wait very long to get an answer. If GTOs email me between Monday and Friday, I will always get back to them by 6pm the same day. That’s something I’m really proud of and it reflects well on the whole company. 

Congratulations to the other finalists of the 2023 Excellence Award who were: Faye Brant-Key at the National Memorial Arboretum, Jackie Cook, Success Tours and Daniel Pocock, Potters Resorts (the winner). The Excellence Award is part of the Group Leisure & Travel Awards.

You can find out more about it and read about the other finalists at groupleisureandtravel.com/excellence