January 25th, 2022

Close-up on Co-op Place: The Long Days – well worth it

By ASHLEY CHRISTIANSON on January 14, 2022.

As a teenager, I used to interview bands and planned to take a public relations course. In July of 2015, when the opportunity came up for a casual position at the new events centre, I knew I had to try and get my foot in the door. I remember stepping foot in the old arena hoping to impress the people sitting at the tables hiring for the new Medicine Hat Regional Event Centre. I was nervous and excited as I walked down to the old “Tigers Den” for an on-the-spot interview. I completed the interview and anxiously awaited to hear from the SMG team.

To my surprise, I was offered the position – a casual ticketing agent position, and because I knew it matched my passion, I felt it was worth the leap of faith. My mom had her doubts about my decision, but I kept reassuring her it would work out (at least I had hoped so). During my second shift, which was The Tragically Hip concert – a surreal experience to say the least – I was pulled from the box office, had a backpack strapped to my back and was directed to set up and support the cash room operations for the facility. Shortly after, I was offered a full-time position with the finance team, where I stayed for two years. When the former box office manager moved to a new position, I was offered the role, which I happily accepted. It felt like my journey had finally come full circle. I love the environment, the long show days, watching a show come alive from initial build to real life, and meeting and developing relationships with everyone from my premium seating holders, coworkers and show promoters, to name a few. Needless to say, my mom now understands completely why I made the choice I made.

At the former Canalta Centre, I took care of the building the ticketing for a show, VIP meet and greets, box office and tour merch sales as well as many other behind the scenes jobs. Fast forward to today and many things have changed. Our facility is now managed by the City of Medicine Hat, it has undergone re-branding, as Co-op Place and I have another new title, Box Office and Event Services Coordinator, with another facility added into the mix with the Esplanade. I was lucky to retain my position that I love with so many changes going on around me. I have loved getting to know and develop relationships with all staff across the city that we work with, but especially with our event and entertainment team. I have enjoyed sharing in the history of Co-op Place with our new team and learning about them, their roles and the history of the Esplanade. Although we all come from different backgrounds and experiences, one thing I know for sure is that each individual loves and has passion for this industry and this city. So much heart goes into each performance, big or small, to give Medicine Hat the best “I remember” moments possible. I am so proud of our entire team, and I can’t wait to see the great things we do together in years ahead, for all of you.

The Long Days – Author Unknown

I work in an industry where day is also night,

I work in my industry because it’s the only job I love that understands me,

I work in my industry where every day is a stage,

In the work I work, I make people’s days and nights,

In the work I work, I meet people from a wide range of the world,

In the work I love and do, I make sacrifices,

I lose out on time with my family but I try to make up for it the best way that I can.

This is the story of working in the event & entertainment industry.

Ashley Christianson is Box Office and Event Services Coordinator at Co-op Place

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