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Donmar Front Row Scheme - Thumbs Down!

Donmar cheap seats

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#1 Mikey

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 05:53 PM

Hey folks, roll up, cheap Donmar tickets available at short notice. Goodbye elitism. No need to be a member – you can still buy the best seats in the house for only £10! It’s official! So is it still worth being a Donmar member?

The old Day Seat scheme (selling 10 seats) is being replaced by this new Front Row scheme selling 43 front row seats cheaply at every performance, favourite seats no longer available to Donmar members for priority booking. It’s all sponsored by a well known firm of bankers to encourage a new audience. The Donmar will be pleased to have the sponsorship but the scheme is more likely to discourage membership and there is nothing to stop the old audiences from buying these tickets too.

Contrary to some newspaper reports, the Donmar website says – (The Front Row scheme) “will give audiences constant short term access to front row seats in the Donmar throughout the run of a production. Two thirds of the front row, across both the stalls and circle, will be held back for all performances and put on sale every Monday for the week of performances two weeks later. These tickets are priced at £10 only, with no booking fee. The first…Front Row tickets will be available from 19 November for performances of Julius Caesar and then in due course for Trelawny of the Wells and The Weir. (The) Front Row tickets can be purchased via all the usual routes – telephone, online and in person. The 20 standing places will continue to be sold as day tickets from the box office on the day of performance for £7.50.”

BUT, where does all this leave Donmar members (Props level), encouraged to pay their subscriptions for the privilege of priority booking? The sponsoring bank is undermining the membership scheme and the Donmar have accepted their bribe. Of course we don't know how much their sponsorship is, whether it is more than the loss the Donmar would make by selling 'good' seats so cheaply. Let’s hope so. The Donmar Sponsorship Dept obviously think it's worth alienating members as, of course, some members will have to accept 'poor' seats during priority booking, only to have later bookers snap up the best seats in the house! Perhaps it would be best if they discontinued the Props level of membership altogether as they think so little of them. Is it still worth being a Donmar member?

It would obviously be fairer to advance bookers, whether members or not, to give late bookers back-row seats instead of front-row ones. But that would not reflect so well on those bankers – ‘let the regulars sit at the back while the bank earns credit from newcomers!’ Think about it – is it still worth being a Donmar member?

I am a member (as you may guess!) and I do understand that the Donmar needs members AND sponsors. I shall continue to be a member, as I love the Donmar. But this new scheme has been ill thought through and treats existing members with contempt.


#2 Latecomer

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 06:48 PM

Plus I don't see how it will work. If it sells out on the internet in seconds (which seems probable if play is a success) how will the poor sods standing outside the Donmar in the rain at allotted time get a ticket? Same for the poor punters on the phone....

I hate it when they make a scheme that just won't work in real life (student tuition fees anyone?)

I am a props member but think I may well hang on to see how the play does and then buy a ticket if it's good....after all those £10 seats are mighty attractive...

#3 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 06:55 PM

These £10 are v attractive. But I like to know I've got a ticket, and when for, as early as possible. So I'll be continuing nonetheless with my £10 row B circle side seats, and try my luck the Monday 2 weeks before my booked date, and see if I can upgrade my seat. It'll sell out so returning my old ticket should be no trouble. That's my plan of action, anyway.



#4 Lynette

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 10:43 PM

It is a bit odd. I can book from mid Sept so what do I do when offered row D? Say, nope give me one of the front row seats? Or I'll not give you any more dosh? But as I said before there aren't really any bad seats in the stalls. It is just that the front row does make you almost part of the action. Why not give row C or D as the seats for the mob. I mean the sponsored new audience members.

#5 Epicoene

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 05:55 AM

I wonder how many seats the sponsors are being handed as part of this scheme for their own use ?

#6 Honoured Guest

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 08:39 AM

View PostLatecomer, on 05 September 2012 - 06:48 PM, said:

Plus I don't see how it will work. If it sells out on the internet in seconds (which seems probable if play is a success) how will the poor sods standing outside the Donmar in the rain at allotted time get a ticket? Same for the poor punters on the phone....

I hate it when they make a scheme that just won't work in real life (student tuition fees anyone?)

It's true that the Donmar hasn't announced the details but I expect they'll break down each day's Barclays Front Row tickets into three distinct allocations for online, phone and in-person sales, That would work perfectly! They could tweak these allocations week by week in response to factors such as actual demand and reasoned feedback.

This isn't really the place, but I'd be interested (and probably amused) to know the justification for your assertion that the student tuition fees "scheme" just doesn't "work in real life".

#7 xanderl

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 09:37 AM

Where do Tom Stoppard and The Queen's seats fit in with this scheme?
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#8 Mikey

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 09:59 AM

View PostEpicoene, on 06 September 2012 - 05:55 AM, said:

I wonder how many seats the sponsors are being handed as part of this scheme for their own use ?

The only front row Stalls seats not available to late bookers are 4 seats reserved for sponsors, Barclays perhaps.

#9 Mikey

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 05:45 PM

Thanks for finally getting us back on topic - the Donmar's £10 Banker's Front Row Scheme. Has anyone rethought their membership plans or will everyone have forgotten all about it by the time it begins on 19 November. I believe the allocation of seats will be split between phone, internet and personal applications so be ready - Q outside the Donmar with iPad and smartphone in hand, then two weeks later sit in your seat with members looking daggers into your back, all very Julia Caesar.

#10 Mikey

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 10:34 PM

Can't you lot just go away and squabble about uni fees somewhere else? Yes, it's important, but not on a Discussion board about Plays under a heading referring to the Donmar! You can face each other on Facebook or tweet into the night until we are all yawning, but please confine your chat here to what's on stage.




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