The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 15 August 2017
Ticket To Ride - Amazon could soon be entering yet another new market - working with US venue owners to sell event tickets. Sources told Reuters news agency that Amazon was in talks to offer event ticketing in America, seeing the market as ripe for a new entrant. If such a move were to go ahead, it would be the latest effort by the Seattle-based online retailer to use its huge customer base and bargaining power to enter a big market.
It would also challenge Ticketmaster, which has a strong grip on the market. Ticketmaster is currently the exclusive seller of tickets for many top US venues, generating $1.6bn in revenue from initial sales in 2016, according to estimates by research firm BTIG. That figure does not include revenue from reselling tickets, which BTIG estimates at $250m.
Price Sensitive - Producer Thelma Holt has become the latest figure to rail against “dreadful” West End ticket prices, claiming they promote a culture of exclusivity. Holt, who began her career as an actor before moving into producing in the 1970s, said British theatre had copied its "cousins" in the US in increasing ticket prices, particularly for premium seats. Premium tickets to West End shows can cost more than £200 each.
Other theatre figures who have spoken out against West End ticket prices include actor Andrew Scott, who insisted that an affordable ticket allocation at each performance was written into his Hamlet contract. Last month Andrew Lloyd Webber claimed that prices were “incredibly reasonable” given the cost of putting a show on.
Holt added, "If you don't let the young in we're going to have no future. You can't do a means test, you can't ask to see a bank statement but there should be so many [cheap] tickets, definitely available whatever."
Free View - Writer Anthony Horowitz has suggested that theatre critics should not be given free tickets to review shows. As reported in The Times, Horowitz said: “As a board member of the Old Vic I don’t know why we give these people free tickets on the first night. Yes of course it might get four or five stars and that sort of helps us, but when they don’t and when they come in and are horrible about somebody’s work that just makes me angry. Theatre critics have the power of getting you on the first night.”
In 2015, Horowitz’s play Dinner With Saddam, which ran at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London, received a number of negative reviews.
Waiting Game - Elaine Paige has called for more new British musicals, claiming there are “too many revivals”. The UK is “still waiting for the next Andrew Lloyd Webber”, with original new musical productions “too few and far between”, the singer and actor told The Stage. She said: “There is an appetite [for new musicals] but they are not there, there are too many revivals like 42nd Street.
“I went to the Menier Chocolate Factory to see The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole and it was just wonderful. That is a brilliant and British musical and it deserves to be in the West End, it was a really excellent performance.”
Fruitcakes - Pineapples have appeared on a list of items banned from this year's Reading and Leeds Festivals, alongside fireworks and weapons. Organisers said it was because fans of Oxford band Glass Animals bring hundreds of the fruit to their gigs, in a nod to song Pork Soda which includes the lyrics "pineapples are in my head". Drummer Joe Seaward said it would be a "challenge" to get in with pineapples. "Anyone who wasn't bringing a pineapple definitely is now," he said. "It's fruitist. Watermelons are fine, but not pineapples?"
Forever Young - Fairport Convention celebrated 50 years as a band – albeit with a number of line-up changes – at their Cropredy 2017 Festival. Saturday night’s sound was – like the line-up – top notch. Congratulations to the SSE team and FOH engineer John Gale who has another major engagement this coming weekend. Cropredy was his last gig as a single man.
(Jim Evans)
15 August 2017

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