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Diary: Need to sneak into a show? Just pop a badge on

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Photo: Melodist/Shutterstock
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It’s not often that theatre features so highly on the cultural hot property list, but with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the forthcoming Hamilton sold out for literal years, theatre’s stakes in the desirability game have gone up.

So for those who make it their business to get the great and the good, or whoever is willing to pay, into these fortresses, it’s imperative to get a bit creative.

Yet the head concierge at Claridges thinks he’s cracked it. In an interview, he claimed that he had snuck wealthy customers into sold-out shows by creating fake press passes for them.

Martin Ballard, aka Mr Fixit or (even better) Lord of the Lobby, said: “Audrey Hepburn asked me to get her brother into the opening night of The Phantom of the Opera – tough but I managed it – and this week some clients want to see a show but can only make the press night. I’m getting badges made and they’ll make out they’re journalists.”

Now, Tabard isn’t sure Mr Fixit’s story checks out; eagle-eyed theatre PRs don’t just let people in on account of their press passes, otherwise we’d all be doing it.

No, persuading the gatekeepers to let you into a sold-out show like Hamilton is a hell of a task, as one podcast presenter found out when he tried to do just that as part of a segment on his show.

According to him, Hamilton’s head of press batted back his emails several times before eventually getting him on the phone, only to promptly tell him to stick his request where the sun doesn’t shine and hang up. If only he knew about Mr Fixit.

Send stories to tabard@thestage.co.uk

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