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Theatre prices and booking /transaction charges

(26 Posts)
Gin Sun 25-Feb-24 13:13:58

I was just looking to book a theatre trip and am puzzled. Why do you have to pay a booking fee of £1.99 for a less popular show and £3.99 for a musical? Surely the process is exactly the same. I am sure the booking charge used to be £1 for all but that may have been long ago! I was horrified at the prices of seats these days. I like to treat my granddaughter to a matinee performance but the theatre plus lunch plus an ice-cream or drink makes it an expensive outing. This is not in London but our local theatre. I wanted to see ‘Pretty Woman’ but upper circle seats cost £71!

keepingquiet Sun 25-Feb-24 13:17:31

Yes, theatres are re-couping money lost in the pandemic, for which they got very little govt support.
I am just glad they are still open and producing quality stuff.
Yes, it isn't cheap but I am careful what I go to see, maybe four times a year?
Nothing's cheap anymore- why should theatres be?

1summer Sun 25-Feb-24 13:33:09

I think the price of theatre tickets is becoming prohibitive for a lot of people. When my husband was alive we used to try and go and see something once a month. I loved a trip to London to see a WestEnd show. But now I go only about 3 or 4 times a year.
Although I recently went to see the excellent production of The Merchant of Venice 1936 at the RSC, brilliant seats only £38! Looking at the e-ticket I don’t think they charge a booking fee.

TinSoldier Sun 25-Feb-24 13:46:15

Most local theatres are “receiving houses” theatres which do not produce their own shows but instead receive touring theatre companies.

Sitting in between the theatre box office and the show itself will another agency, the event organisers and promoters who set their own charges to meet their own overheads. The box ofice collects those fees and passes them on to the organiser.

Broadly, you can look at a live show as having direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are the cost of getting and putting the show on the stage e.g. the performers’ fees, venue hire, technicians, stage dressing, transport, standard box office charges including taxes and performing rights royalties. But the event organiser will have their own general overheads to meet: accommodation, staff, publicity etc and that will vary from company to company.

Visgir1 Sun 25-Feb-24 16:32:31

I agree such a shame they are pricing so many and families out of going, I have always loved live Theatre.
I also go to some good touring productions, only last week we saw "Drop The dead donkey" which is playing through out the UK.

We are so lucky to have an Amazing high profile Theatre near by Chichester Festival theatre.

Only yesterday the new season shows tickets went on sale. I booked for x5 shows. Cheapest for The Minerva £43 top price which is the smaller Theatre on site, however only £64 for the Big musical for this summer front row seats.
All e-tickets, no booking fee, arrives directly after you have booked and a text pops up on the day your booked so you can download your tickets, so no printing as its on your phone.
I have called in to other local Theatre's and bought direct no extra fee, but London shows I have always seemed to pay extra fees.

LOUISA1523 Sun 25-Feb-24 19:03:22

If you are in receipt of PIP, DLA or attendance allowance , you can sign up to ticket agents like ticketmaster, AGT etc ..... nd get much cheaper tickets....I went to see Moulin Rouge recently in London....£29 ....3rd row dress circle....you can often get free carer tickets as wrll....I always ask at local theatres too .... just need to show proof of your benefit

Doodledog Sun 25-Feb-24 19:10:33

I find additional charges annoying. When I working the city centre I used to go in to buy tickets at the box office and they still charged an admin charge long before Covid. No postage, nothing except the paper tickets, and the charges ran into pounds. Similarly if you book online and get a download for a ticket you are doing the work and they still charge. Ticketmaster are particularly bad for this.

I appreciate that costs are high, and don’t mind paying, but I think the price of the charges should be added to the seat charge so that people know in advance what they are being asked to pay.

PamelaJ1 Mon 26-Feb-24 02:59:44

Visgirl hope DTDD was good, we are going in a couple of months.
We were unable to go to a production a couple of years ago, we are 25miles away from the theatre and the weather was appalling. The production company didn’t decide to go ahead with the performance until late afternoon by which time our main road was blocked.
The theatre refunded the portion of the ticket that was their percentage. I can’t remember now what it was but remember being surprised at how small a percentage that was.
I always book directly with our theatre and get the tickets on line so no extra fee.

Ashcombe Mon 26-Feb-24 05:50:47

At our local (amateur) theatre we stage 10 in-house plays a year plus visiting acts, typically for one night. Tickets booked at the Box Office, operated by volunteers, incur no extra charges but patrons expect to be able to book online and we have to charge £2.00 per booking (regardless of the number of tickets) to cover the cost charged to us for having this facility.

Katie59 Mon 26-Feb-24 07:15:06

1summer

I think the price of theatre tickets is becoming prohibitive for a lot of people. When my husband was alive we used to try and go and see something once a month. I loved a trip to London to see a WestEnd show. But now I go only about 3 or 4 times a year.
Although I recently went to see the excellent production of The Merchant of Venice 1936 at the RSC, brilliant seats only £38! Looking at the e-ticket I don’t think they charge a booking fee.

The RSC gets a great many grants and a lot of sponsorship so can keep ticket prices down, other theatres get much less, however if theatre goers had to pay the full cost there would be no regional theatres

NotSpaghetti Mon 26-Feb-24 07:41:41

The support for the arts has dwindled across the board I think but the West End was always expensive and although we are a theatre-loving family it was financially very hard to take our family (5 children) there.

As a girl my parents took me to the theatre, ballet opera and also (less often) to concerts. It's in a child's early years that they can grow into loving these arts. I know some of our old (uncomfortable) theatres in London especially, are historic and beautiful but they are also small - this is an additional burden on pricing.

NotSpaghetti Mon 26-Feb-24 08:00:18

I should have said - the booking fee is the least if the cost issues!

SeaWoozle Mon 26-Feb-24 17:06:51

I would rather pay an extra couple pounds and still be able to go to the theatre rather than have it close down! There are many, many websites now (especially for London shows) which offer cut price tickets. You've just got to know where to look - I generally don't but I have a friend who knows where they all are. If you have a blue light card or are in receipt of certain benefits or are a student, you can get cheaper tickets. Also there are very often free carer spots. We went to the theatre last night and the tickets were £33 each. Not cheap but we don't go that often and it was also a present for my SO. The arts is massively underfunded (mostly because the Tories would rather you did academic stuff than art or music!) but there are amazing companies out there. Hull Truck Theatre is one who charge very little for their tickets. And if you see "less popular" shows then they're generally cheaper. Saw Woman in Black (recommended!) a year or so ago in London for £20. Big doesn't necessarily mean better!

Wheniwasyourage Mon 26-Feb-24 17:09:32

Doodledog

I find additional charges annoying. When I working the city centre I used to go in to buy tickets at the box office and they still charged an admin charge long before Covid. No postage, nothing except the paper tickets, and the charges ran into pounds. Similarly if you book online and get a download for a ticket you are doing the work and they still charge. Ticketmaster are particularly bad for this.

I appreciate that costs are high, and don’t mind paying, but I think the price of the charges should be added to the seat charge so that people know in advance what they are being asked to pay.

Quite agree, Doodledog. I too am annoyed when the booking fee is an extra charge. If that's the price, including booking fee, just charge the price!

Kim19 Mon 26-Feb-24 18:51:19

When I visit London I often take pot luck and try for theatre seats at the very last minute. I sometimes get a good reduction. If not, I just entertain myself differently.

Ellly Tue 27-Feb-24 11:45:00

London Theatre Week is coming up with lots of discounted tickets (in London).
Also cheaper seats are available for for many shows via group rates which can be booked via Theatre goers clubs. Its the best way to see popular shows

JdotJ Tue 27-Feb-24 12:03:11

I saw 42nd St at Sadlers Wells last June for £20.
Seat high up in the stalls but a brilliant view

Grantanow Tue 27-Feb-24 12:13:09

West End theatre is now wildly expensive and opera even more so. We used to go quite a lot but not any more. The Tory cuts to local government means that many Councils are cutting their grants to local theatres and arts venues so they will have to charge more or go out of business.

NotSpaghetti Tue 27-Feb-24 13:20:50

If you ard a family of 7 (as we were) it was difficult to afford seats and last minute ones were often scattered about.
Not complaining. Quite accepting of it - it was our choice to have a big family - but wished we could have taken them more often to big shows with lots of fabulous effects and to more opera.

Three still grew up with a deep love of theatre though and one became a theatre professional but the big London musicals (and opera) were generally too expensive. Did see a fair few ballets though (loved Northern Ballet too for the storytelling) and now have one grandson who loves ballet too.

I think it would have been easier if we had lived closer to London to be honest. Only certain shows tour the provinces...

Lucyd Tue 27-Feb-24 15:23:35

When my husband was alive we often went to shows in Edinburgh. Now I go to my local theatre. Shows cost between £10 for the theatre groups own productions up to around £22 for visiting professional shows. I don't mind the booking fees as the actual tickets aren't too costly. Am quite shocked at how expensive London shows are but am too far north to contemplate travelling down to London for a show anyway. Going to see The Haunting at the lovely Theatre Royal in Dumfries this Friday -£18.

PhilJaz Tue 27-Feb-24 15:53:33

The ticket price should include all components. There is no need to have extras like booking fees except greed

Ashcombe Tue 27-Feb-24 16:28:45

Lucyd
Going to see The Haunting at the lovely Theatre Royal in Dumfries this Friday -£18.^

Coincidentally, having viited your local theatre's website, I can see that this is the same production which visited our Little Theatre in Torquay a few months ago and was excellent. We also enjoyed another play that toured last year from the same company. Like your theatre, tickets for our own plays are cheaper than those staged by visiting professionals.

I do hope you have a wonderful evening on Friday.

Mamo Tue 27-Feb-24 18:10:08

My DD was involved in the launch of this initiative by the Cultural Philanthropy Foundation, to encourage access for all to theatre, ballet, choral events etc. Worth a look
www.culturalphilanthropyfoundation.co.uk/the-ticket-bank

Mojack26 Tue 27-Feb-24 20:47:11

Agree and its per ticket! Just spent extra £20 for booking fees on £80 each tickets! Outrageous....and why they didn't do anything....?

SeaWoozle Tue 27-Feb-24 23:15:35

Mamo

My DD was involved in the launch of this initiative by the Cultural Philanthropy Foundation, to encourage access for all to theatre, ballet, choral events etc. Worth a look
www.culturalphilanthropyfoundation.co.uk/the-ticket-bank

What a fantastic idea. I will definitely make a donation. Theatre and the arts should be accessible to everyone. Thanks for sharing 🤗