The Birmingham Rep has communicated with Members of its Preview Club to confirm its closure and replacement for just those under 25.
The Preview Club was available for free to anyone under the age of 30 giving them access to £5 tickets selected preview performances, as well as inclusion in any Rep priority booking period.
The Preview Club has now changed to be available to those under 25 and is only available at a cost of £5 to access the benefit of ‘£5 and £10 ticket deals every month’. The new scheme is called Rep Beginners.
It is understood members of the Preview Club aged over 25 have been given 12 months of a newly launched Membership – Rep Unlocked. The membership, priced at £25, gives members access to a free cloakroom, exclusive discounts, free ticket exchange, access to one day priority booking ahead of the general public and access to exclusive member events.
Presumably, those existing members of the Preview Club, aged under 25, have been given access to new the scheme called Rep Beginners which usually costs a one off cost of £5.
As part of the shake up of its membership scheme, The Rep has another level of membership called Rep Encore which is £50 a year and gives its members access to 10% at the Rep’s Bars and Restaurants, 15% off two tickets per performance during the priority booking period, 10% off two tickets per performance outside the booking period, three days priority access, a free cloakroom service, free ticket exchange and access to ‘membership only events’.
My View: Most theatres are reviewing their membership options and its understandable why. It's an annual form of revenue and also encourages loyalty to the theatre. What's most disappointing of the news at the Rep is they've created a cost barrier to a younger audience that are already challenging to reach. It's difficult to understand the reason for the cost, other than to create an additional revenue stream. While undoubtedly young people interested in the theatre will benefit from the scheme, those who aren't won't be encouraged to try it out. It's worth noting joining the membership scheme is the only sort of concession offering the rep does. The wider membership changes are interesting, certainly for a casual visitor of the Rep or for someone who visits three or four times a year. The lowest price band seems not that great value for a £25 cost Regulary visitors of the Rep may find the £50 a year option worthwhile, but there are other theatres that offer similar benefits for a lower price