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London Theatre Listing? If Only


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#1 Max Von Mayerling

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 06:56 PM

London's 'Time Out' (Free paper version) now no longer carries full theatre listings, and the online version is very difficult to negotiate for the info.  It's about to relaunch - the new version is currently in 'beta' and is far worse still!  I find it amazing that there is now no longer a single place to find London Theatre listings ('West End'  'Off West End' & 'Fringe' searchable subheadings would be good).  Am I wrong?  I've written to TIme Out, as they seem to have forgotten that their main usefulness is to give you Listings - a short view of something you didn't know you wanted.  It's only any good for searching for what you already know about and want!  How depressing.  This is really a threat to Fringe Theatre's future I believe.  How are people going to get their shows known about in future.  Are there web/phone apps I don't know about, or should some friendly pressure be brought on Time Out to help the theatre industry, and themselves?  Any thoughts?

#2 xanderl

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:31 PM

Agree with you, I'm not aware of any simple way of answering the question "I want to see something on Saturday afternoon / evening, what's on?"

So particularly for fringe venues I just look at the ones I already go to regularly.
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#3 zyx123

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:39 PM

I use London Theatre Guide, not sure how comprehensive the fringe section is though.

http://www.londonthe...o.uk/index.html

#4 fringefan

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 05:34 AM

My "system" is also piecemeal:  e-mails, websites, press articles, etc, plus having regular venues.  I couldn't actually fit in any more plays and shows; I miss too much as it is but agree that the apparent lack of comprehensive listings anywhere is frustrating and a disservice to theatres and public alike.  As for Time Out and the direction they've taken, don't get me started or I shall hijack this thread!  Suffice it to say, they seem neither to listen nor to care.

#5 xanderl

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:55 AM

We're allowed to be rude about Time Out now they've flogged off WOS :)

Thanks for the London Theatre Guide link
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#6 Lynette

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 05:24 PM

fringefan o let's hijack away! I used to subscribe to Time Out. In fact I used to get it back in the day when it was not much more than a two sheet pamphlet with no pics! But when it 'changed' they tried to get me to maintain my subscription. A sad demise I think.

#7 fringefan

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:06 PM

The old-style Time Out was a godsend to me, given that I neither live nor work in London.  I do realise that the internet has meant a massive change; that most people now find information online and that everything happens faster, but comprehensive listings and reviews were, for me, the whole point.  I was a subscriber but cancelled my subscription as soon as I heard the news.  Now I couldn't even obtain a copy without a subscription as although I could previously buy one locally, of course the distribution network has shrunk and no longer extends this far.  And the most annoying aspect of all was reading about the change online first and never being informed of the reasons at all, let alone in advance.

#8 Max Von Mayerling

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:24 PM

Thanks for link to londontheatre.co.uk (and all the other interesting replies).  It's a site I knew of but had kind of forgotten about.  The design of it looks rather dated, but hey, it's now my bible for theatre listings.  Very easy to negotiate via West End, Fringe, Date (and other choices); and the info is in a list.  I'll certainly pass this on to others who are frustrated at not knowing 'what's on'.

The thing is, the information is all there in Time Out's labyrinth of a website, but the tags and headings to find the information make it almost useless for extracting in any legible form.  I have to wonder whether all that aimless frustrated searching gives them a large number of page impressions that they can tell their advertisers about  i.e. do they have a vested interest in doing everything but allow you to visit the website for an efficient quick hit of listings into?  If so  it's counter-productive as blind fury doesn't make me particularly suggestible to advertisers' messages!

I tweeted Time Out Theatre and got a reply saying that they are going to be working on the 'Tags' in the theatre section soon.  So, we'll see.  Much as I'm grateful to londontheatre.co.uk (and wouldn't usually support 'the big guys') I'd like to see theatre information easily found within the mainstream that Time Out represents, as an international brand that isn't just for us theatre types.

#9 Lynette

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:58 PM

Before the demise Time Out did something v odd in my opinion: they began to list plays alphabetically by name of play not venue. So then you couldn't get an idea of the type of play it was, or the cost etc with a glance. So what could you look up? By venue you could whizz thru the usual suspects and get the info, then range out to the fringe maybe. The revues were on the whole sound. I liked that concerts and other stuff were in the same mag which you could carry around and chew at leisure. I'm not Internet phobic but I'm sorry the mag has gone.
So what I'm saying is that they lost the plot a while ago.

#10 Max Von Mayerling

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:58 AM

I've now had responses from Time Out via Twitter and Facebook - both saying that they are aware that on the new beta site there is work to be done on Search Criteria to make it more useable.  I've passed on points that have been posted by you all here.  We'll see....

Re. the completeness of londontheatre.co.uk  It's good, but they don't usually list anything that runs for less than 5 days (this is stated on their site).




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