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‘West End ticket prices are dreadful’ – theatre producer Thelma Holt

Thelma Holt. Photo: Barker Evans

Producer Thelma Holt has become the latest figure to rail against “dreadful” West End ticket prices, claiming they promote a culture of exclusivity.

Holt, who began her career as an actor before moving into producing in the 1970s, said British theatre had copied its “cousins” in the US in increasing ticket prices, particularly for premium seats.

Premium tickets to West End shows can cost more than £200 each [1].

Other theatre figures who have spoken out against West End ticket prices include actor Andrew Scott [2], who insisted that an affordable ticket allocation at each performance was written into his Hamlet contract.

Last month Andrew Lloyd Webber claimed that prices were “incredibly reasonable” given the cost of putting a show on.

Holt said: “[Ticket prices] are dreadful, they are much, much too high.”

She agreed that prices were making theatre seem more exclusive and said more tickets should be made available specifically for young people, as well as there being more cheap tickets.

“If you don’t let the young in we’re going to have no future. You can’t do a means test, you can’t ask to see a bank statement but there should be so many [cheap] tickets, definitely available whatever.”

She added while the industry acknowledges that ticket prices were an issue, those at the top should be focusing more on doing something about it.

Holt was speaking at an in-conversation event at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, where she discussed her career as a performer and producer, including a creative collaboration with the Globe’s founder Sam Wanamaker.

She went on to talk about her optimism about British theatre.

“It’s never not been okay and it never will not be okay. There’s always somebody who will make it work. The Windmill never closed and it didn’t get bombed. Yes of course I am optimistic but that’s not unusual…There are lots of good young people coming through.”