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UK theatres to go mobile as Hamilton reintroduces paper tickets

Several UK theatres, at which a paper ticket mostly remains the only option, have revealed plans to introduce paperless ticketing for environmental and customer experience reasons.

The move towards digital ticketing has been slow in the theatre world but this week the National Theatre and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s LW Theatres are among those committed to bringing mobile tickets to fans.

The National Theatre is looking to introduce e-tickets, which will be sent as an email attachment with a barcode that can be scanned on a phone, in the next few months.

A spokeswoman told The Stage: “We are keen to introduce e-tickets for a variety of reasons, including reducing the impact on the environment through the printing of paper tickets and also to improve the customer experience by removing the need to collect tickets at the box office on arrival at the theatre.”

The Old Vic is thought to be the only major venue to offer a fully digital system, which it introduced in 2017.

In addition, LW Theatre revealed that it would launch mobile ticketing options at its six West End venues. It claims to have been offering an e-ticket option since 2017.

A spokesperson for LW Theatres said: “The mobile ticket takes this to the next level of convenience, without the need to store emails or attachments.”

The move comes after the announcement last month that West End musical Hamilton is concluding its anti-touting paperless ticketing system from December 2, in favour of third-party retailers in addition to Ticketmaster.

Hamilton, which developed a ticketing system run by Ticketmaster to combat online touts and “unauthorised profiteering of third-party resellers”, is set to revert back to a more traditional ticketing operation, with paper tickets to be available later this year.

Theatres that already offer a paperless option alongside the traditional choice of printed tickets include the Lyric Hammersmith in London, which introduced e-tickets in May, Leicester’s Curve, and West End operator Nimax Theatres.

Image: Aurelien Guichard