Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communication and Theatre Union (BECTU) head Philippa Childs has warned that expensive theatre ticket prices could deter audiences, leaving theatre workers vulnerable.

Childs told The Stage: “When faced with soaring ticket rates amid the ever-increasing cost-of-living crisis, audiences will have little choice but to cut back on the expense of going to the theatre, leaving productions out of pocket and exposing workers to further vulnerability.”

The statement follows backlash from theatre fans after dynamic pricing saw top-priced seats for the final West End performances of Cock increase to £400 (€476/$499). The prices were eventually slashed to £175 after the uproar.

Initially, production company Elliott and Harper said the increase in ticket prices was prompted by “supply and demand”.

The company stated: “Since the production went on sale last year, 15% of all tickets sold have been at £20. There is a daily lottery for every performance where more tickets are also priced at £20. As the show nears the end of its run, the remaining premium ticket seats are based on supply and demand.”

However, tickets were reduced to £175 the following day.

Childs also said that increased ticket prices were not necessarily being reflected in workers’ pay.

She added: “The shutdown of the industry during the pandemic prompted many to leave the theatre industry in search of alternative work that provided better terms and conditions, resulting in a significant skills shortage across the sector.

“Poor pay is a major contributor to this issue, and will continue to harm the industry if the problem is not addressed.”

Image: Kilyan Sockalingum on Unsplash