Age Of Audiences At PlaysThe end is nigh
Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:54 AM
Last night at A Mad World My Masters, I was probably one of the younger people there. Honestly, I counted 12 people under 30. The rest of us all on free Oyster cards I promise you! This is a play which the director says is the filthiest he has ever read. It is oozing appeal to young people, right down to savvy teenagers who would enjoy it. I felt ever so slightly disturbed by the young people on the stage doing their stuff for an old audience, like patronage of the worst kind. How on earth do we persuade the young people to go to the theatre more? We guys all go to the theatre many times in a year. Some go maybe once a year.
Incidentally not a problem at Othello at National. Praise be. So a complex problem? Babysitting, cost, transport, lack of marketing, risk factor if duff show?
Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:25 AM
With so much information to hand via the internet on deals and more awareness of day-seats I hope things do change, but even in my late thirties I still felt like a young whipper-snapper at Untold Stories and Private Lives.
Slightly related quote from my annoyed husband last night: "I can't wait to get old so I can be rude to everyone and get away with it!"
Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:31 AM
Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:33 AM
I agree however that ticket prices can make West End (and touring) shows prohibitively expensive. I utilise Kids Week and search for bargains, but generally bargains are mid week which is difficult to get kids out to on a school night.
Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:36 AM
Untold Stories, Private Lives and Relatively Speaking don't sound attractive to young people.
Recently, National Theatre Wales and NeonNeon's Praxis Makes Perfect drew many young people.
Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:46 AM
Speaking as a youngish person (just about under 30) I went to plays first and musicals later, by pure coincidence so have always been about 50/50 in my viewing. That said my Mother, in her late 60s will get rather grumpy if I take her on too many theatre trips that don't include a musical! So swings and roundabouts a bit.
Places like the NT do better I think with their generous ticketing schemes for young people. I really admire NTW's recent work which has attracted a younger crowd (well some of them) and perhaps regional plays do better generally due to being 'on the doorstep' ?
Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:49 AM
This is a very good point. Theatre is an excellent way to address minorities, who feel alienated by most mass culture. It's exhilarating to see something that makes you go "Yes!" As another example, some people are keen on black theatre but disinterested in the rest. It's a real success for a piece of theatre to find a particular audience which is passionately interested in it. The NT Connections annual programme is excellent in presenting plays written for and performed by young people. Most young people are looking for an experience which broadens their horizons, gives them a buzz and speaks directly to them, and it would be hard to market Relatively Speaking, etc. along those lines.
Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:57 AM
Posted 27 June 2013 - 12:03 PM
Probably I only saw half a dozen plays in my 20s, none when at uni, though I did use the manchester theatres generous student ticket pricing for musicals. Now I go to a lot, but probably as many visits to musicals.
The starrier the event the younger the audience, especially with cheap tickets? The donmar westend season had loads of families in the balcony. Trafalgar transformed the monday I went to macbeth it was packed with schools, not so much for The Hot House but it was a bank holiday.
And there are tonnes of kids waiting at the stage door for Daniel Radcliffe, dont know how many are in seeing the play (seemed a bit early when I went by).
Hows the audience for Curious Incident of the dog?
Posted 27 June 2013 - 12:11 PM
Yes, but ... your generation are happy to pursue other pleasures, more expensive than theatregoing.
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