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National Theatre reinstates critics’ plus one tickets

The National Theatre. Photo: Philip Vile The National Theatre. Photo: Philip Vile
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The National Theatre has backtracked on plans to deny critics plus one tickets at press nights.

In a letter to critics, the venue said that a policy it had been planning to introduce from August this year, giving reviewers just a single seat to its shows on press night and the option to buy another for £20, has been dropped.

The letter confirms that the NT has “decided to restore our previous press night ticketing arrangements” and give plus ones to those who want them.

Director of communications Martin Prendergast states in the letter that its original intention had been to “accommodate new titles and writers within our existing press allocation”.

However, he writes that “extensive consultation” over the summer had given the venue “a greater understanding of the significant challenges presented to established, high-quality theatre writing by the rapidly changing media landscape”.

“Our commitment to reach new audiences remains undimmed; this approach seeks to balance that ambition wth our desire to support great theatre writing,” he adds.

However, Prendergast also states that its allocation is “being slightly altered in order to accommodate new titles and writers”. Prendergast explained to The Stage that the NT had “managed to find a small number of savings across the house”.

“This will allow us to broaden our media engagement and therefore reach new audiences,” he said.

When the policy was announced, critics raised concern about the move.

The Stage associate editor Mark Shenton said that a plus one could make “a very real difference to our working lives”.

“Given that many [critics] work in home offices, it’s a chance to see a friend after a long day at the computer screen, and – if you have a partner who also has a day job – a chance to see them,” he said.

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