Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Are Ticket Prices Too High?

After the full casting was announced for Elf at the Dominion Theatre this Christmas I quickly noticed the ticket prices that were causing quite a stir on social media, with the lowest priced tickets being £51 and the premium tickets breaking £200. I thought top price tickets for The Book of Mormon were pricey at around £150, I was shocked that Elf would be charging so much. Considering the show is aimed at families I personally feel it's unlikely that, unless incredibly wealthy, a family of 4 could afford to take a trip there, especially with the rising prices of travel and accommodation. If they really wanted to attract large audiences from a range of backgrounds they really need to be more realistic with what people are able to pay for theatre. I find it sad that the excessive prices are likely to affect sales as the actors have worked hard to create a piece of theatre and it would be a shame to see it close early.

Despite being a student I adore visiting the theatre and I think it's important that prices make seeing great theatre accessible to all. As great as a front row seat it, I acknowledge that this is going to cost more but having a range of prices means you're going to get a good range of audiences. One of my favourite London shows is Les Miserables, and I'm going to see it for the 4th time in September. This is made possible because of the really affordable cost- one of my favourite seats (front row in the Grand Circle) costs around £25, although there are even tickets available for £15 which is an amazing price. OK, you're not going to get as much detail as you would if you were sitting in the stalls but you still get to experience an amazing piece of live theatre.

This was one of things that I struggled with when I visited New York earlier in the year. Ticket prices on Broadway are insanely high, much more so than in the West End, which really restricted which/how many shows I saw. Hamilton, written by Lin Manuel-Miranda (one of my idols in theatre), recently opened on Broadway after previews at the Public Theatre. While me going back to New York is something that won't be happening for a long time, I looked up tickets for the show out of interest but I was really disappointed to see that top price tickets were over $500. That's really restricting audiences as so many people would love to see the show (it's a really revolutionary show for Broadway) but are just not going to be able to afford tickets.

Luckily there's a lot of great schemes available to young people like me. A lot of theatres around the country (including my local, the Wolverhampton Grand) offer £5 tickets to 16-25 year olds, as do the RSC with their RSC Key Scheme (you can book a £5 ticket in advance for any performance, as well as £5 tickets for Matilda in London on the day of performance). Honestly, I think it's so important to offer tickets that everyone can afford otherwise theatre is going to become something for only the very wealthy. What are your thoughts? Will you be shelling out to see Elf this Christmas? Or do you prefer tickets are the lower end of the price range? Let me know!

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