Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Home Thoughts From A Chocolate Box


The day job

The posting hiatus is down to the fact that Mrs T and I are currently working our way though the chocolate box that is the Cotswolds. The tearooms have excellent lemon drizzle cake, but little in the way of wifi.

We're meandering our way to Stratford to see one of Britain's greatest thesps take on King Lear. It's a heavyweight contest over three-and-a-half-hours, and the King always puts up a spirited fight so we're expecting to get our moneysworth.

Anyway, I've just taken a squint at the tickets, and marvelled yet again at how cheap they are. I mean, here we are with A Theatrical Knight who routinely commands three gzillion dollars a shot for movie roles, a star spangled cast featuring a previous Doctor Who no less, good seats, and all we're paying is £28 each. Twenty eight quid!

How can that possibly be, we ask. Lack of demand? Not really- the entire run sold out months ago, and on eBay right now the going price for a single £28 ticket is £130 plus.

Well, is it a cut price vanity job just so some Hollywood star can add RSC Stratford to his Wiki entry? Well, Sir Ian won't be charging full retail for this, but he hardly needs another RSC notch on his tickling stick.

No, compared to say the West End, the RSC is always a value buy.

How puzzling.

Not.

We've blogged arts subsidies so often it hurts (eg see here and here).

Taking account of its £14m Arts Council grant, and other public funding, the RSC gets £22m pa. And how much does it get from ticket sales and other theatre operations? Er... just £13.3m pa. So taxpayer subsidies are getting on for twice sales income. Put another way, if there was no subsidy, a £28 ticket would have to be priced at £70.

What's more, it's currently redeveloping its theatre at an estimated cost of £100m. Funding? Yup, £70m public funding is already in the bag, against only £15m from other sources.

Yes, Mrs T and I are direct beneficiaries of this. And yes, we reckon we are entitled because we've paid such horrific cheek cracking amounts of tax over the years.

But wtf should everybody else be forced to subsidise our leisure activities? Why shouldn't we and other punters be forced to pay the full £70 unsubsideised ticket price. Or even the £130 plus the tickets actually seem to be worth?

Back to the chocolate

1 comment:

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