It’s been a while since there has been a discussion about ticket prices. The last time there was a large storm brewing was when Elf sold tickets for up to £240 when it premiered in the west end in 2015. Ticket prices are extremely important to me; they are one of the keys to accessibility in the theatre and the moment we price out people is the moment of mourning for the industry.
Now that Hamilton has now firmly rooted itself in London, it has announced the next batch of ticket prices – skyrocketing all the way to £250.
It has to be said that this isn’t the first show to reach the £250 mark. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child now has £125 tickets for each part leading to a total of £250. To try and offset this, Sonia Freedman decided to price 300 tickets for each show at £40 or less for both parts.
Hamilton has also announced some cheaper tickets; 240 in total for each performance and these will be priced at £37.50 or less. It is interesting to note that most of these tickets were priced 25% less when the show opened late last year.
In response to the concerns, a Hamilton spokesperson said: “Ticket prices were set for the first booking period at the newly restored and expanded Victoria Palace Theatre in 2016, over 18 months ago.”
To me, this is a worrying comment. While the tickets for the production may have been listed 18 months ago, they were setting the prices for December 2018 and not before then. Inflation may be high in this country but it is certainly not 25%. It also suggests that we should expect further rises each time a new batch of tickets is released.
If the money from the overly priced tickets were used to subsidised an outreach programme perhaps this would be more understandable. However, it seems this is nothing more than a cash cow. Theatre producers are not charities, but they do share their responsibility of where the theatre industry progresses to.
I pay on average £15-£30 for each ticket I purchase. While the reviews for Hamilton may be good, is it really worth the cost of eight to ten shows? I think not.