Theatre survey results
Whether it‘s an epic at the National or a fringe show at the Gatehouse, London theatre can conjure up a magical experience. But there‘s always room for improvement. Through our online survey, we asked you for an honest view from the cheap seats (please turn off all mobile phones now)
39%of the people who entered our survey have visited the theatre more than ten times in the last year.
2 out of 3people said that the booking fee added to ticket purchases was a major problem.
75%of you told us that ticket prices were too high in general.
60quid is what you’ll have to fork out for the highest price ticket for ‘Porgy and Bess’ when it hits the capital this autumn.
45,000tickets are sold each month through TKTS, the only official discount ticket operator in London. Twenty five per cent of its customers are Londoners. Other complaints about the theatre-going experience included ‘lack of cloakrooms’, ‘no prior warning of restricted views’ and ‘having enough time for dinner’
Half of you also said that the prices charged for programmes are too high. You were also irked by small seats (
38%), poor sightlines (
35%) and the lack of air conditioning over the sticky summer months (
41%of the people in our poll like to take drinks into the theatre with them. Of those,
37%complained that toilet facilities in theatres are inadequate. Mobile phones hamper the theatre experience for
51%of you (no matter how ‘funny’ the ringtone is). Other major sources of annoyance include rustling food wrappers (
33%) and late arrivals (
1 grumpy respondent’s list of annoyances included: ‘whining hearing aids, use of programmes as fans, leaving early to catch the train or avoid the crush (an OAP habit)’.
66%of you mainly go to the theatre in the West End.
25%prefer off-West End, and
9%admirably stick to fringe productions.
13%of you said that the threat of terrorism would put you off going to the West End. That compares to
53%who said that the main thing that would put you off was the declining standard of the productions on offer.
1 in 10dislike ostentatious clapping or laughing.
1person said they would be less likely to buy tickets for a production if there was a celebrity lead.
31%of you would avoid a production if the celebrity lead was replaced by an understudy.
Two thirdsof the people in our poll recognise the difference between subsidised and commercial theatre. Of those, just more than half prefer to see subsidised productions.
55%of you would trust a friend to give you the best recommendation to see a production, compared to
13%who would first listen to a newspaper reviewer. A gratifying
18%of you would trust our Time Out critics more than anyone else. Nearly all of you said that cheaper tickets would encourage you to go to the theatre more. Other incentives included: ‘more money spent on advertising fringe theatre’, ‘stricter rules for bad audience behaviour’, and ‘fewer musicals’. Visitors to London also had complaints. One eloquent respondent from NYC said: ‘Tour packages now only include lousy musicals, mostly imported from Broadway – which I ignore completely – and present the tourist with a distorted picture of the refined artistry of the theatre in British culture.’ The National Theatre was narrowly your favourite venue venue in our poll, with 19% of the vote.
89%of you said that the overall experience the last time you went to the theatre in London was ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. So it’s not all bad
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