David Cote on West End ticket prices

Monday 17th January 2011

West End theatre
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One of the most interesting theatre blogs this week looks at the issue of ticket prices. In the Guardian, David Cote argues that, compared with Broadway, British theatre has a poor record of offering a fair price for its seats: “British theatregoers don’t have the same culture of discount code hunting and deal-seeking that we have in New York.” To be fair, some theatres, such as the National and the Royal Court, do offer good deals, but there is surely some truth in his argument. In London, although you can let the commercial sector rely on its own market logic to keep prices high — people will pay almost anything to see Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Moss in The Children’s Hour — surely the subsidised sector could be doing more to help expand audiences, especially in this age of austerity. Instead of allowing theatres to spend their grants on marketing departments and publicity, maybe the Arts Council — which does after all disburse our money — could instruct them to cut all their ticket prices by 10 per cent. Yes, that would be a simple, practical way of helping the rest of us survive the hard times ahead. For that reason alone, it will never happen!

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