Dal arts at your fingertips

Mobile app launched for the Dal Arts Centre

- March 28, 2013

The app in action. (Ryan McNutt photo)
The app in action. (Ryan McNutt photo)

What began as a mobile app to follow minor hockey teams across North America has found new life reaching out to Halifax's local theatre and performing arts crowd.

With just a few modifications, the smartphone application developed by Nova Scotia-based Buzzer Apps Mobile Solutions has been re-released for the first time as an event listing and ticketing service for the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

Currently available for Apple, Android and Blackberry phones, the new application lists all the shows coming to the Arts Centre, and allows users to buy tickets through the centre’s online ticketing system.

“It’s slick,” says Heather McGean, director of the Dalhousie Arts Centre. “It’s very convenient. Even if users don’t buy a ticket, they can quickly see what we have…from today right up to next fall.”

For example, as of this story's publication, people who download the new Arts Centre app would see postings for such upcoming events as the DalTheatre's play The Triumph of Love, which will have its final performance on March 30; Ballet Jorgen Canada’s performance of Swan Lake on April 18 and 19; and for those planning far in advance Steve Smith — better known as TV's Red Green — brings his one-man "How to Do Everything" show to the Rebecca Cohn on October 29.

Browse and buy

After finding a show they like, users can connect to the Arts Centre's secure, mobile-friendly ticketing service in just a few swipes, selecting their seats and buying tickets.

McGean points out that the app also includes links to a seating chart for the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, along with links to the Dalhousie Art Gallery, and the university’s Departments of Theatre and Music, which all share space in the Arts Centre.

Andrew Smiley, one of the founding partners of the company that developed the app, says it was originally developed as a low-cost, easy-to-manage solution for minor hockey teams that can’t afford custom-built apps like those developed for pro teams, but are still looking for another way of engaging with their devoted fans.

“It all started with an app for the Halifax Mooseheads,” Smiley says of how his company got off the ground. Word of their solution quickly spread among other teams in the Quebec, Ontario and Western Canadian junior hockey leagues and before long 22 of the 60 teams were using team-branded versions of the application.

“We built something that’s reasonably priced, but provides you with 80-90 per cent of the functionality of what you’d get from a big budget, build-your-own app,” explains Smiley.

Connecting with Halifax's arts community

He says if the Arts Centre app is a hit, they’d like to offer it to organizers of the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Buskers, and other festival groups across Canada – a market that’s a perfect fit for his small eight-person company.

“We’d love to work with that kind of business,” says Smiley, adding that they’re hoping that future versions of their app will integrate with social media sites like Facebook and YouTube, and offer app owners the ability to send push notifications to their customers. “Anything to make the app more engaging,” he says.

While skeptical at first, it didn’t take McGean long to see the value of what Mr. Smiley and his team had to offer. And with the launch of the new mobile app, Ms. McGean is happy the Arts Centre is able to be one of the first venues of its kind in the region to offer a simple, convenient way of connecting performers with their fans.

“It’s just a nice, little tool,” says Ms. McGean. “When people first started talking about apps I thought they’re not really necessary because of the easy access everyone has to websites. But this is really slick.”


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