Sherman Theatre in Cardiff has introduced a number of initiatives to support audiences and those in the industry during the cost-of-living crisis.
Schemes include ‘pay what you can’ previews and free workspaces for creatives to use.
According to a report from The Stage, the theatre has started a scheme called ‘open house’ to encourage creatives to come and utilise free desk space and Wi-Fi. The spaces are heated and guests will also receive a 10% discount at the bar.
The initiative has been introduced to help the day-to-day costs of working from home. The ‘warm spaces’ scheme will also be extended to members of the public, even if they are not seeing a show.
Audience members will also benefit from the ‘pay what you can’ previews for main shows, as well as the option of breaking down the cost of a ticket into multiple installments.
Artistic director Joe Murphy told The Stage: “The Sherman really views itself as a civic resource for communities, and what we’re trying to do is pick up on that heritage and push that further with specific measures over this crisis.”
Murphy added: “We’re saying our building is heated anyway, so if you are at home, or unemployed, or from a refugee or asylum-seeking community and don’t want to turn the heating up, come into our building.
“There will be people here and you can have conversations, free tea and coffee, and you can have somewhere safe and warm to be, so there’s really simple things like that that we’re doing across the organisation.”
The theatre has also extended its ‘Sherman 5’ scheme, which is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and offers £5 ($6/€6) discounted tickets to shows. The extension includes ‘chatty Tuesdays’ where members of the team will be available in the lobby each week to provide company for those visiting the Sherman Theatre.
“It’s about acknowledging what a theatre can do in the crisis,” said Murphy. “We can’t solve the crisis but there are things we can do, and we feel that when times are difficult, being safe, being warm, accessing creativity and accessing self-expression alleviates both your physical well-being, because you’re safe and warm, but also your mental well-being to come and get some positivity and creativity flowing through you.”