A report issued today by UK Theatres, states that theatre ticket prices rose by more than 5% across the UK last year as venues sought to make up for funding cuts.
Customers at the Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple and the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe paid considerably less than the UK average though as North Devon Theatres’ Trust (NDTT) average ticket price in 2014 was just £14.69 – 38% less than the average ticket price across the UK.
The average ticket price outside central London was £23.77 in 2014 - up 5.5% compared with 2013, according to the report.
UK Theatre president Rachel Tackley said: "We're seeing the result of the cuts that we've witnessed over many years and theatres have to make their own decisions about how they're able to cope with those.
"Do they reduce the quantity and quality of their work and numbers of people on stage, or do they put ticket prices up by what is actually not a huge amount?"
NDTT Programme Manager, Kate Irvine said “We recognise that North Devon has a low wage economy and work hard to keep our ticket prices down. One of the objectives is to keep ticket prices at least 15% below the UK average as it’s important to us that we’re as accessible as we can possibly be. When we book a show we have a long conversation with the promoter so that they understand the importance of making tickets as affordable as possible”
NDTT Theatre Director, Alan Dodd said: “The rural, low paid economy in North Devon creates a number of barriers for people to access the arts. Cuts to other services which have traditionally provided creative opportunities to the community have been decimated in recent years. It’s really important that NDTT, as the local arts charity for North Devon, make sure that we keep ticket prices down so that as many people as possible can experience the arts in North Devon. Yes, we’ve had funding cuts the same as many other regional venues, but we’re positive about finding creative ways to overcome these so that we don’t just increase prices”
NDTT’s average ticket price of £14.69 includes a £1.50 payment to the Love Arts Theatre fund which helps improve the theatre experience for our audience and preserve the buildings for future generations.
Further analysis in the UK Theatre report states that opera and variety are the most popular genres in the South West while family theatre and plays are the least popular. Alan Dodd said “Family theatre is our most popular genre so we’re bucking the trend in the South West. We provide a really wide range of arts, entertainment and education and it’s important to us that we present as broad a programme as possible. Our audience numbers increased by 9% in 2014 so it looks like our audience likes what we do!”
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