MORE than 57,000 calls were made to a Christchurch theatre as it was inundated with ticket requests for upcoming Ricky Gervais performances.

The Regent said the demand for tickets was ‘unprecedented’ for a theatre its size, and added that it was ‘disappointed’ by the level of abuse directed at its staff by those who did not get tickets.

As reported, the international superstar comedian will be performing twice at the theatre on May 13 and 14.

Ricky thanked fans for trying to get tickets, saying he ‘really appreciated the efforts’, with many queuing from the early hours of the morning outside the venue.

A spokesperson for The Regent said: “The overwhelming demand for Ricky Gervais tickets today was unprecedented.

“We are a charity-run theatre, with a small staff supported by volunteers, and our entire team has worked incredibly hard to make this event possible.

“While most people have been very understanding of these exceptional circumstances, we have been disappointed by the level of abuse our staff and volunteers have received from some customers who did not manage to obtain tickets.

Bournemouth Echo: 100s queued outside The Regent for Ricky Gervais tickets/

“We had over 77,000 people attempt to book tickets through our website this morning, traffic so high that it maxed out all available servers with our ticketing provider, despite numerous provisions put in place.

“Our phone lines received over 57,000 calls and as a small venue we are simply not equipped to deal with that level of demand.

“Customers began queuing outside the door at 4.30am, and our Box Office got through as many of these people as possible before tickets were sold out.”

The theatre said the vast majority were unsuccessful due to the limited number of tickets available.

“We appreciate all our loyal customers at the Regent, but with an event of this scale it would have been simply impossible to limit tickets or prioritise local Christchurch residents over anybody else,” the spokesperson said.

“However, over 90% of tickets sold for these shows were to people from BH postcodes and in the immediate local area.

“We’d also like to remind everybody not to purchase re-sell tickets from third parties. As per our Terms and Conditions, any resold tickets will no longer be valid and you will be turned away at the door if the lead booker of your party cannot provide an ID that matches the name on your ticket.

“We thank you for your understanding and patience, and we really hope that those lucky enough to get tickets enjoy the show.”