Permanent free entry to children's book museum

05 Apr 2022

Seven Stories, the national centre for children's books, is making entry free for good.

The museum removed admission fees on a trial basis in February and received record visitor numbers - 7,500 in a single week.

Since free entry aligns with its overall engagement strategy, it has decided to keep the model permanently.

CEO Wendy Elliott said attendance at the Newcastle-upon-Tyne site now far exceeds pre-pandemic levels.

"It was fantastic to see so many new visitors enjoying our galleries and events, from our region and further afield.

"Our goal is to put stories at the heart of every childhood, no matter what background or place you grow up in, and in order to do that we need be as accessible as possible to as many children as possible."

Event organisers optimistic about future

05 Apr 2022

Worries about ticket sales, rising costs and staff shortages remain front of mind but organisers have "a much thicker skin" than before Covid.

Children’s theatre ticket scheme doubles offering

04 Apr 2022

Children’s theatre Polka is making 4,000 free school tickets available before the end of the school year through Curtain Up! 

The commitment doubles the scheme’s previous allocation, which offers free theatre tickets to primary school children from disadvantaged locations in Merton and surrounding boroughs.

Since reopening last autumn, Polka has hosted 1,700 pupils from 22 schools at Curtain Up! performances.

The scheme's growth responds to the lasting impact of Covid, with schools struggling financially and organisationally to bring children to performances, the theatre says. 

"Theatre gives children a creative outlet, an escapist ride into the world of stories, a way to reflect on their own world, and a chance to experience emotional journeys together. We want to make sure they don’t miss out," said Polka's Executive Director Lynette Shanbury.

Booking patterns match pre-pandemic behaviour, survey finds

21 Mar 2022

Advance booking patterns for performing arts shows last year were “very similar” to before the pandemic, according to analysis from TRG Arts and Purple Seven.

The organisations' ‘Two Years On’ survey found more than half of bookers last year were first time patrons. 

TRG Chief Executive Jill Robinson said the result is "heartening news" but is "not new behaviour in the post-Covid world".

Analysis of 288 UK theatres found the average age of ticket bookers has fallen to 56.4 from 57.4 years old.

Fewer bookings are coming from those born between the mid-1940s and 1960s (down 3%). The greatest increase has come from those born between 1965 and 1980.

The research found the pace of Covid recovery varies across the country, with the South West of England and Northern Ireland performing stronger than Wales, Yorkshire and the North East of England.

Sunak urged to abandon VAT ticket hike

15 Mar 2022

Plans to revert VAT on ticket sales to pre-pandemic levels will be “hugely damaging” for the music industry.

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to scrap an anticipated 7.5% hike on live event ticket sales expected in next week's 'mini-Budget'. 

A return to 20% would see the UK’s VAT on tickets - already one of the highest in Europe - far surpass levels set in Spain (10%), Germany (7%) and Belgium (6%), the association says.

Promoters and music industry chiefs are concerned it will force rising in ticket prices, which Njoku-Goodwin said would "leave music fans facing a cost of gigging crisis”.

“Dumping the planned VAT hike would help keep ticket prices down for fans and help music businesses pay down debts they built up during the pandemic, generate thousands of new jobs and nurture new talent,” he added.

Missing audiences present major challenge to arts income

09 Mar 2022

New research suggests venues may not be able to convince up to 14% of regular attendees to return as restrictions lapse. How can organisations adapt?

Should buying a ticket really be this hard?

a crowd of people watch a performance
02 Mar 2022

Buying tickets online is something people do every day, for thousands of events, on millions of websites, all around the world. But, as Kathryn Mason writes, it’s not always plain sailing.

Living with Covid plan could erase 'significant minority' of audiences

22 Feb 2022

The end of restrictions and free Covid testing pose challenges for workforce safety and encouraging cautious customers back.

Mission should inform everything

image outside building of Farnham Maltings
16 Feb 2022

Being purpose driven and mission driven through the pandemic set Farnham Maltings up for success long into the future, just when they needed it most, as Paul Fadden reports.

A is for absurd

20 Jan 2022

Taking the 'new normal' seriously means accepting some changes might need to stay. 

Indoor restrictions to be lifted in Scotland

19 Jan 2022

Scotland will ease its Covid restrictions from Monday (January 24), removing limits on attendance at indoor events.

Nightclubs can reopen from the same date, coinciding with the end of social distancing requirements.

Scotland's Covid certifiaction scheme will be only be mandatory for entry to events of over 1,000 people. 

Organisers must check proof of vaccination or a negative lateral flow test for whichever is lower of 1,000 people or half an event's attendees. 

The Scottish Government says it stopped short of certifiaction checks at all venues because of the "significant fall" in Covid cases.

Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan said the restrictions, announced before Christmas, had effectively shut down the majority of theatres in Scotland. 

"It will be a huge relief to theatres, artists and audiences that they will soon be able to reopen."

Vaccine passports 'not sustainable' in Wales

17 Dec 2021

A month after implementation, venues say Covid passes have had the opposite effect on audience confidence than the policy intended.

'Catastrophic' collapse in attendance under Plan B

15 Dec 2021

It's estimated nearly £2bn has been lost from music venues since last week's announcement.

Sector split on Plan B mandates

Masked audience members
09 Dec 2021

Concert arenas and nightclubs will be most affected as theatres prepare for a drop in ticket sales.

Omicron has little impact on theatre sales

08 Dec 2021

Against fears the new variant might scare off audiences, data suggests ticketing and income has remained steady so far.

Fraudulent ticket touts' appeal rejected

30 Nov 2021

Two touts who amassed millions reselling tickets have had appeals against their convictions dismissed.

BBZ Limited’s Peter Hunter and David Thomas Smith were jailed in February 2020 following the first successful prosecution of a company over fraudulent ticket resales. 

The pair will now serve their full sentences - four years and to-and-a-half years respectively. 

They used at least 97 different names, 88 postal addresses and more than 290 email addresses to evade ticketing platform restrictions for events including Ed Sheeran concerts and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child theatre performances.

Upon upholding the conviction, The Court of Appeal noted: "[The] ticketing market is one which appears to be characterised by a high degree of criminal fraud.”

National Trading Standards Director Wendy Martin called the ruling a “major milestone” in efforts to combat unscrupulous secondary ticket sales.

Rishi isn’t coming to the rescue 

phone screen with twitter logo
26 Oct 2021

This week’s budget shows that there’s no easy path to high wages and low ticket prices in theatre. So what’s next? asks Robin Cantrill-Fenwick.

Scotland starts enforcing vaccine passports

19 Oct 2021

Venues that fail to comply face a maximum £10,000 fine but policing falls to overextended local authorities and underserved security.

Safety inspectors shut down Manchester theatre

11 Oct 2021

Manchester’s Grange Theatre has been closed with immediate effect after safety inspectors found faulty electrics and wiring in the building.

A statement from the theatre says it will remain closed until it is deemed safe to reopen.

All events in October and November have been cancelled, with ticket holders set to be refunded.

Located on Oldham College campus, the theatre’s annual pantomime has been transferred to nearby Queen Elizabeth Halls.

Legal challenge to vaccine passports in Scotland fails

01 Oct 2021

The policy has taken effect but tech issues are rife, guidance is lacking and venues say there hasn't been a "meaningful consultation".


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