Veteran actor Sir Derek Jacobi has said that the cost of ticket prices for theatre is making it an “elitist” pursuit.
Jacobi added that theatre should be open to everyone. He was honoured with a lifetime achievement prize at the Olivier Awards on Sunday at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The actor told the Guardian that “it was much easier” to see plays cheaply when he first became a passionate theatregoer.
He added: “I’m not on the production side, the business side, so perhaps I’m talking through my hat but when they say it’s £150 for a seat in the stalls, I understand that – and it shocks me.”
The Guardian reported that the most expensive ticket for A Little Life, which has just started its run at the Harold Pinter theatre, is £195 (€223/$244). Cabaret, which picked up seven awards at last year’s Oliviers, has tickets on sale for up to £300, much like A Streetcar Named Desire.
However, the report noted that there were ‘on stage’ tickets for A Little Life from £25 and ticket prices for Cabaret start at £30. A representative told the Guardian that A Streetcar Named Desire saw 83% of all its tickets sold at £100 or less.
Jacobi said: “I’m not an economist – I don’t know the basics of how a theatre survives without money but it certainly can’t survive without bums on seats either.”
The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) released its sales data for member venues in February, which demonstrated that theatre ticket pricing remained consistent, despite rising costs.