The National Theatre has said it is still searching for a new sponsor for its £15 tickets scheme, after it announced last year that its 15-year relationship with Travelex was coming to an end.
The cheap tickets initiative was introduced in 2004 by former director Nicholas Hytner, who hailed its inception one of his highlights of a 12-year tenure running the theatre.
It has been funded through a commercial partnership with currency exchange company Travelex, which comes to a close this year. When the decision was announced last year, NT director Rufus Norris said finding a new partner would be a “huge priority”, praising the profound impact of its lowest-priced tickets on accessibility.
At a press conference for the forthcoming season, executive director Lisa Burger said the theatre “was still looking for the right sponsor”.
She said the NT remained committed not only to finding a replacement partner, but one that would enable it to expand the £15 tickets programme nationwide so they could be available for audiences of touring NT productions.
“What we’re really keen to do is extend our commitment to accessible theatre ticket pricing right across the UK,” she said, adding: “In the meantime we are able to continue to make 30% of tickets £20 or less… in addition to 25,000 entry pass tickets for under-26s.”
Burger did not rule out partnering with a company such as BP or Shell – whose sponsorship of other arts organisations is coming under increasing scrutiny – but said the NT did not have “any live sponsorship negotiations with either” of the two oil and gas giants.
She emphasised the role played by the theatre’s donations and sponsorship policy in decision-making and said: “We look at those things on a case by case basis in accordance with those [policies].”