Client entertainment under lockdown: the show can go on

Dutch firm Houthoff offers clients 'virtual night out' with exclusive streaming of popular ballet

A scene from The Nutcracker and the Mouse King Angela Sterling

The Covid-19 lockdown has wrought havoc with client entertainment programmes — but one leading Dutch firm has found a way to keep the show on the road.

Over the Easter weekend, Houthoff offered its clients an exclusive ‘virtual night out’ watching a preview of one of the most successful Dutch ballet productions of all time: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.

Three hundred clients registered to watch the video, which went live on Thursday evening and was available to watch throughout the Easter weekend.  

It was introduced by managing partner Edward de Bock, dressed in a tuxedo, from his study and clients were sent locally produced cheese and wine which they were encouraged to enjoy while watching the ballet.

“We thought we needed to do something for them [National Opera & Ballet] and, most importantly, our clients during this difficult time to lighten the mood a little bit,” said spokesman Dave Cohen.

“The reactions we have had have been heart-warming with a couple of partners being sent photos of their clients and their families watching the ballet.”

The show was recorded by National Opera & Ballet, which Houthoff sponsors, shortly before lockdown began in The Netherlands on 16 March.

Houthoff holds regular client events with the opera company, but this is the first time it has staged a virtual event.

Cohen said it was De Bock’s idea to stage the event, which also raised funds for the opera company.

He added: “It was very informal – he was in his own study wearing a tuxedo with a glass of champagne and he toasted the guests before introducing the managing director of National Opera & Ballet who had also recorded a video.”

The firm is repeating the event for its international clients this Friday evening and over the weekend and will post links to various opera and ballet performances on its homepage from next week.

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