As a self-confessed theatre obsessive, I thoroughly enjoy taking a trip to the theatre; whether that be to see a musical, play, dance performance or comedy show. There’s nothing more exciting than taking your seat, the lights dipping and suddenly getting transported to a different time and place… Okay I shall stop sounding like a massive geek now!However I don’t get to visit the theatre very often at all and I regularly miss out on seeing shows that I’d love to see. And why’s that? Because it’s too flipping expensive.
My local theatres are the York Theatre Royal and the Grand Opera House, York. The average price to see a professional production at these theatres is around £30-£40, unless you’d rather have a lovely view of the pillar and see only 20% of the stage… The theatres sometimes kindly offer students a 10% discount but this only equates to a few quid, meaning it’s still no more accessible for the student population.
For students a trip to the theatre could be the same price as their weekly food shop and even a theatre enthusiast like me, would have to reluctantly chose to eat.
This brings me to ask the question “do you have to be a member of an exclusive club to enjoy theatre?”
There is a slight risk when booking tickets to see a show/play, especially if it’s not a well-known company or production. The gamble is whether or not you will like it, theatre is obviously subjective, but, of course, some shows will be better than others. For some customers the risk of going to “an unknown” show is too high, as it could turn out to be a waste of money, therefore only those who have lots of disposable income, often older individuals, can afford to take the risk. This means that performances are attracting the same audiences again and again. Is this what theatres want?
If theatres are wanting to reach out to a new audience of “non-theatre goers”, what are they doing to attract these customers? More needs to be done to entice new audiences, instead of putting them off with sky high ticket prices. Theatres expect people to buy tickets to productions, purely based on a promotional poster with a tiny blurb and possibly a review of the West End production. Is this enough? I, personally, think not.
When was the last time you went to the theatre? What was the production and did you enjoy it? What would encourage you to go?
I’m going to indulge myself into a new project and challenge the theatres and theatre companies. If you have any suggestions or any questions you’d like me to ask, drop me a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m going to endeavour to find out if they are doing anything to make theatre more accessible to all and how they encourage a varied audience? If this is a project you’d like to join me in, please do let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts!