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Donmar Front Row Scheme - Thumbs Down!

Donmar cheap seats

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#31 Honoured Guest

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 10:40 PM

£15 is still very cheap for those seats. Compare with the Bush where the standard price for all tickets is £24. All Donmar tickets are underpriced in comparison with equivalent theatres. That was achieved by developing significant regular income from Mems & Sups, but that had the drawback of severely reducing the number of tickets available to the general public. Your personal hyper-organisation secured you regular tickets from the small number publicly available but that doesn't change the fact that, as Mems & Sups expanded to levels which required the Donmar to close these schemes to new entrants, the total numbers of publicly available tickets were diminished. The Mems & Sups are a closed group with very good chances of securing tickets for each and every production but the general public had very limited availability. Compare with The Effect which the NT declared sold out on the day after Priority Members' booking opened. This is unacceptable in a theatre in receipt of public subsidy and it applied to most Donmar productions.

#32 Latecomer

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 06:27 AM

This is simply not true. The donmar is a small theatre but it is nearly always possible to book on the first day of public booking (if you look back on the various threads you will see lots of happy customers who did just that!) So, not like the National Effect at all! Plus there were always day seats and standing for the less organised or *can't plan ahead due to work etc* amongst us!
The seats upstairs in the circle are a bit rubbish compared to other venues....as had been touched on previously you end up on uncomfy seats peering through the railings with action sometimes taking place underneath you!
The BIGGEST barrier to attracting the illusive "new audience" that they witter on about is simply price....as was proved when they did a West End Season at reasonable prices.I remember there being lots of statistics published about how many people it attracted that had not been before.....And it's also why they have prices their nice new tickets in the best seats at £10. The biggest barrier to keeping this "new audience".....that's me by the way....is also price! We liked the £10 second row circle seats....and object to the 50% price rise.
Ok, said my piece, I am officially cross with the Donmar and will only be buying tickets throughout the run (and therefore missing productions if they are too difficult to get). Let's see how it goes....Oh and they have also put up prices for the seats at the side on row 1 and 2 of the stalls to top price for the first few seats....tiny portion of row 1, most of row 2 now £35....and that's gone up too! <_<

#33 xanderl

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:25 AM

I had surported this new initiative, but now it looks like members and advance bookers get a worse choice of seats at higher prices than before I have changed my mind!

Like Latecomer, I think I will hang on and try and grab £10 seats later.
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#34 Honoured Guest

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:59 AM

The problem with the old system was that most of the cheap tickets on general sale got snapped up the moment booking opened by the same coterie of hyper-organised bargain-hunters for each and every production. The Barclays Front Row tickets give everyone a regular weekly chance, which is bound to widen access compared to when the cheap side circle blocks went on sale just twice a year. And, yes, I know all about the subsequent little trickles of seats onsale when the set design was finalised or when special reserves were released, etc., but many of those were sold to the same small dedicated group of people, as evidenced by the notifications and triumphalistic exchanges in this forum.

Value, not price! Josie Rourke's West End Much Ado About Dr Who didn't have any trouble selling out at West End prices and arena prices for comedians and popular musicians are steep. People who might like to try theatre are generally unwilling to pay much money at first because they don't know whether the experience will be worth much to them. But, if they get a taste and they enjoy it, they'll willingly return at proper prices because they now value it. On the other hand, if you keep offering the same small group of enthusiasts an endless stream of productions at heavily subsidised rock bottom prices, they seem to think it's their birthright and apparently deny the value of the very thing they crave.

I salute the Barclays Front Row scheme because it will give a much wider public a regular chance of a good seat at an accessible price.

#35 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 05:53 PM

But the Barclay Front Row scheme will also be for ultra organised people, savy with the website, when they go on sale etc. Us again, probably. If these new folks really wanted to try the Donmar (or theatre in general), for a cheap price, they could've got dayseats or standing, or got the £10 side circle seats, some of which have been release every week of Josie Rourke's regime thus far.  And they announce them through their Facebook and Twitter pages.  The only savy thing to do there is click 'follow'.



#36 peggs

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:39 PM

I don't see why being 'organised' is such a crime and I agree with Pharaoh's number 2 regarding the savy getting the £10 tickets. And we aren't all seasoned theatre goers who have being going for years and not paying the 'value of the thing we crave', some of us are relative new comers to theatre and on the basis of Honoured Guest's arguement if we're not prepared or able to pay west end prices then we deserve to miss out. I'm not convinced 'new' audience will come for £10 and then be prepared to pay lots more later, after all we aren't.

#37 Latecomer

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:45 PM

I wonder how they will check if all these £10 tickets go to "new" people.....I may have to wear a disguise....

#38 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:53 PM

I'm wondering what would (and indeed will) happen if I turned up to return a £15 ticket (there's nearly always a queue, esp for this Caesar), and at the same time collect a £10 one for the same performance. Will they refuse to hand it over? We shall see....

Also, is there a limit on the number of £10 seats you can get for one performance?



#39 armadillo

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:07 PM

View PostLatecomer, on 13 September 2012 - 07:45 PM, said:

I wonder how they will check if all these £10 tickets go to "new" people.....I may have to wear a disguise....

Well, they'll know if the card used for booking has been used at the Donmar before. The NT seemed fairly certain that Travelex brought in a new audience and I assume that's how they found out.

#40 Epicoene

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 12:30 AM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 12 September 2012 - 10:40 PM, said:

The Mems & Sups are a closed group with very good chances of securing tickets for each and every production but the general public had very limited availability.

That is not true. I have never been a member there and there is not a single production I have missed using their public booking  system immediately booking opened  - the Donmar public bookers are a hyper-organised closed group too. Now all I will do is book a £10 ticket instead. It is laughable to claim that the general public will do any better through this new scheme, casual new theatre goers will not bother to log on promptly at 8:00am on a Monday (or whenever it is) to book a ticket in the 30 minutes that they will be available (just as no "general public" new theatrgoers will have secured any of the Grandage season £10 tickets either). The NT is different, they ensure that some Travelex tickets for some productions are available throughout the run - they do this by staging rubbish productions like Cyrano in vast theatres which have no chance of selling out under any circumatsnces - in that way casual walk-up punters can get in.




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