Three essential trends for theatre managers

31 May 2023

With many conflicting demands on theatre managers’ time, Robin Cantrill-Fenwick identifies three key trends to help keep theatres on track.

Nottingham Castle to reopen with new pricing structure

22 May 2023

Nottingham Castle will reopen on 26 June, seven months on from its closure when the trust responsible for its operation entered liquidation.

When the castle reopened in 2021 after a £31m redevelopment project, a standard admission price of £13 was introduced, or £9.50 for children, leading to complaints and calls for ticket prices to be reviewed, according to local press at the time.

The heritage site will now adopt ‘pay once, visit all year’ ticketing arrangements when it reopens, with adults able to pay £12 for all year access, with children under 15 able to go free with a paying adult.

A family of five will now be able to buy an annual pass for £24, compared with £35.50 before the castle’s closure.

The new admission arrangements will include unlimited access to the grounds, Brewhouse Yard Cottages, Robin Hood Adventures and Rebellion Galleries and the castle museum, unlimited for a 12-month period.

Councillor Pavlos Kotsonis, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Planning at Nottingham City Council, said the the local authority hopes the announcement will come as welcome news.

“We have endeavoured to listen to what visitors didn’t like about the Trust’s admission arrangements, and I believe the simpler pricing and exceptional value we are announcing will help to encourage visitors, near and far, to come back again and again.”

A new website has been launched to take advanced bookings.

Successful membership schemes build stronger audience connections

16 May 2023

Cultivating strong audience relationships is essential for sustainability. And that loyalty is crucial to achieving this goal, writes Nick Stevenson

Government rules out secondary ticketing legislation

16 May 2023

The UK government has published a response to the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) recommendations on secondary ticketing, ruling out legislative changes for the time being. 

The CMA called for stronger laws to tackle illegal ticket reselling in August 2021, publishing a comprehensive report on the secondary market. 

The authority called for changes including a ban on platforms allowing resellers to sell more tickets than they are legally allowed to buy from the primary market, holding platforms accountable for incorrect information about tickets listed on their websites and a new licencing system for platforms that sell secondary tickets.

The UK government’s response, penned by MP Kevin Hollinrake, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State within the Department of Business and Trade, formally rejects the proposals.

“The government believes in the power of competitive markets to give consumers choice and flexibility,” Hollinrake’s response said. 

“This applies to both the primary and secondary markets in event tickets. Consumers should have the ability to sell on tickets they no longer want or able to use and therefore need a market for resale.”

The government response cited the “massive disruption” to the event industry caused by the Covid-19 pandemic as hindering a detailed assessment of the impact of current trading standards and CMA enforcement work.

It also stressed the responsibility of buyers to make careful decisions when purchasing tickets from the secondary market.

The response said that it is “too soon” to establish whether futher legislation focused on the secondary ticket market is “the only way forward”, concluding that “to propose further legislation in the sector at this stage is not yet appropriate or justified by the available evidence”.

It added that improvements to other aspects of consumer law, published in response to the 2021 consultation, would be the government’s priority in the immediate future, “rather than changes to the secondary ticketing regime specifically”.
 

Tixly to be partner with Trafalgar Tickets

02 May 2023

Event ticketing software company Tixly has been selected as ticketing partner for Trafalgar Tickets.

Trafalgar Tickets will begin using Tixly’s ticketing system later this year.

The company is the ticketing division of Trafalgar Entertainment, a theatre venue business founded in 2017.

Tixly currently provides services to over 100 venues and cultural organisations around the world, allowing customers to sell events, manage customers through advanced CRM and use enhanced segmentation tools to enable marketing.

“I am thrilled we have found a partner in Tixly whose approach to technology and product development is so aligned with our own,” said Trafalgar Tickets’ CEO Johan Oosterveld.

“We share a desire to reimagine how customers and producers interact with our venues. By leveraging Tixly’s advanced feature set within our technology stack, we will be able to unlock commercial opportunities and accelerate our growth ambitions in the UK and internationally”.

Liam Oakley, Trafalgar Tickets’ Director of Operations, described Tixly as “a feature-rich yet intuitive system” well-placed to meet the company’s evolving needs.

Music concert ticket scams soar by over 500%

28 Apr 2023

Music ticket fraud increased by 529% last year, with the average victim losing £110.

The findings come from a study by Lloyds Bank, which also found scams targeting comedy and theatre tickets are on the rise, albeit by smaller amounts.

Scammers are targeting concerts and festivals where tickets are scarce or sold out more often, with scams involving fake websites, emails and social media posts increasingly prevalent.

Liz Ziegler, Fraud Prevention Direction at Lloyds, said audiences should always buy tickets from reputable platforms, and pay by debit or credit card to give the greatest level of protection.

“With demand to attend live events soaring as the warmer weather approaches, they will waste no time in targeting music fans as they rush to pick up tickets for the most popular gigs and festivals.”

Eurovision has brought me out in a cold sweat

Eurovision banners on Liverpool's St George's Hall
25 Apr 2023

Europe, Eurovision, pressure-selling, ticket queues and… Candide?  Robin Cantrill-Fenwick examines what goes wrong when tickets go on sale for popular events.

Income generation is harder than ever

Royal Shakespeare Theatre view over River Avon, 2015.
18 Apr 2023

All arts organisations are under pressure to diversify income. In the latest in our series of case studies looking at strategies being adopted to tackle this, Catherine Mallyon shares her insights from the RSC.

Partner Pod: Surviving permacrisis

On stage at Conway Hall, London, are Robin Cantrill-Fenwick, Iain Christie, Penny Hansen and Katie Moffat
15 Mar 2023

Are the arts locked in a permacrisis? How do we survive it if so? How long until we get back to 'normal'? Join Robin Cantrill-Fenwick and his panel of guests in Arts Professional's first Partner Pod.

West End ticket prices stay at pre-Covid levels

Shaftesbury Avenue in London, on the West End. The photo shows an advertisement for production Les Misérables
14 Feb 2023

Society of London Theatre’s member venues have seen their nominal revenue increase since 2019, with developing the audience experience highlighted as a key opportunity for 2023.

The making of future leaders

'Leadership' concept: lots of people in the bottom half of the image. Sun is shining to create many shadows. They are all following one person who is slightly ahead.
13 Feb 2023

Leadership in the arts has always been a vital component of the creative process. But, as Sean Hanly says, the key to successful leadership is laying the foundations for future leaders.

The price is wrong

People giving a standing ovation to a performance in a theatre auditorium. Visible are the stalls, dress circle, upper circle and balcony.
06 Feb 2023

With ticket price differentiation reaching new extremes, David Reece considers the longer-term consequences and asks if we should be entering a new era of pricing.

Banks blamed after venues experience secure payment issues

Exterior of a ticket office. A black and white building with three windows that have the word 'tickets' printed over
16 Jan 2023

Arts venues report failed payments after an updated online verification process was made mandatory, due to banks being unprepared to facilitate the switchover.

'Ticket Bank' to offer free theatre shows in London

Ticket Bank founders Caroline McCormick and Chris Sonnex
14 Dec 2022

Seven cultural organisations have so far signed up to be part of free theatre ticket initiative, offering those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis the opportunity to attend shows across the capital.

Independent theatres 'face closure without strong Christmas'

A Christmas performance at a theatre
07 Dec 2022

With ticket sales still below pre-Covid levels and cultural spending taking a hit due to the cost-of-living crisis, this Christmas could be anything but merry for many of the UK's small, independent theatres.

Theatre woes deepen

Empty theatre hall
06 Dec 2022

With the wide-ranging problems facing the theatre industry, Ruth Hogarth thinks it time for a review to safeguard its future.

Mayor of London launches theatre campaign

06 Dec 2022

Tickets for popular theatre shows are to be sold at discounted rates as part of efforts by the Mayor of London to boost tourism in the capital.

As part of the mayor's Let's Do London campaign, a "12 Shows of Christmas" promotion will see tickets for London West End shows are to be sold at a discount by Transport for London (TfL) to try to attract people into the capital on the Tube.

For 12 consecutive days, 100 tickets will be sold for £30, a 35-45% discount on the usual price.

It is hoped the campaign will boost sales and tourism after the industry took a hit from the pandemic.

Entertainment company acquires London theatre app

18 Nov 2022

Trafalgar Entertainment has acquired London theatre app Stagedoor.

The app is considered London’s most comprehensive theatre guide, featuring audience and critic reviews and a booking process.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Trafalgar Entertainment Group Chief Operating Officer Helen Enright has said the acquisition will allow for expansion of the app’s reach and offering.

“Crucially, this acquisition and investment in Stagedoor will add greater value to producers, and the additional sales channel will enable us to reach a broader audience and gather valuable data from committed theatre goers,” she added.
 
As part of the deal, Stagedoor’s staff along with its Co-Founders, Chief Executive Michael Hadjijoseph and Chief Technical Officer Alex Cican, will remain with the company to “ensure that future business ambitions are fulfilled”.

“Our vision for Stagedoor is completely aligned with the capabilities of a larger organisation like Trafalgar Entertainment, and the synergies between other portfolio companies in Trafalgar Entertainment’s group gives us confidence that we will be able to realise Stagedoor’s full potential in becoming the new home of theatre,” Hadjijoseph said.

Time for a new pricing model? Part 2: Subscriptions

Netflix logo on multicoloured background
16 Nov 2022

In a time of rising inflation, affordability and accessibility are at the forefront of arts organisations’ minds. David Reece examines whether a Netflix-style subscription could be part of the solution? 

Increasing numbers 'unsure about future theatre attendance'

10 Nov 2022

A survey has found that theatre audiences who usually buy the "most affordable" tickets are disproportionately concerned about a drop in their disposable income.

The October 2022 UK Performing Arts Survey garnered 1,000 responses from the audiences of 38 theatres. Of those who look for the "most affordable" seats, 41% said that over the next six months they expect their disposable income to reduce a lot, or to have little or no disposable income.

This compares with 20% of audiences who usually purchase the "best available" tickets.

In the next 12 months, only 6% of respondents expected their attendance at live performances to decrease, compared with pre-pandemic levels.

This rises to 8% for those who usually pay less than £15 for a ticket; purchase the most affordable tickets; or have a health problem or disability that significantly limits their activity.

The survey is managed by TRG Arts/Purple Seven on behalf of participating venues.

TRG Arts UK Managing Director Tony Followell said: “It is concerning to that see the numbers who are unsure about their future attendance is growing.

"Venue managers should be acting now to ensure their pricing strategies are fit for purpose in the challenging times ahead.”

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