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What motivates you to see a show?

Tess of The D'Urbervilles albumI recently asked my followers on Twitter what was important to them with regard to going to the theatre.

There is no doubt that for anyone, but perhaps more so for families, that transport costs to see a show in London can be expensive and a factor in choosing to see a show.

However other factors come into play too. For some it is the admiration for a particular cast member or cast in a show, for others it can be the draw of the ‘theatre experience’

Whilst it obviously comes down to personal preference here’s a list of some of the important factors to some theatregoers: – cast, show, production team, director, writer, composer and cost.

Another influencer can be the availability of being in the right place to queue or the right amount of computer portals available to purchase tickets when an online sale opens. Tickets for a particularly hotly anticipated show can sell out in minutes, leaving potential theatregoers without a ticket.

From personal experience, the standard price of tickets for a ‘very good seat’ for a West End musical often averages at around £65 and for a play about £50 – it is an expensive hobby to have! However there some excellent sites where you can really save the pennies! I usually do a trawl of a few of my favourite sites to see what offers are on? The one I’m currently writing this for is my usual favourite but like all well known adverts say “there are alternatives”. Do your research and don’t be put off by restrictive view, ask other patrons who have seen the show as different productions have different set views. I will give advice if asked as there aren’t many theatres that I haven’t visited but as you build up followers or networks you know there is always someone who can assist you. The booking agents if you do it by phone are an excellent source of information and not all are premium rate (this one isn’t!) again it falls down to research. I go so often I would be bankrupt if I paid full price so because of this I rarely do?

Which leads me on to – Are we afraid to risk seeing new material due to cost?

With big production shows opening, often with influential names involved, I’ve been surprised at the number of recent “New Material” closures that have also ensued. I’m in the fortunate position as a reviewer that I often get the opportunity to see new and sometimes experimental shows. That said I love the classics but have always tried to be open to experiencing new writing/adaptations. Two of my favourite productions last year were new – Let the Right One In and Tess of the d’Urbervilles Musical (read the review here).

My Twitter followers said that subject matter can be another important influencer or the lack of knowledge about the piece. So this then raises the question as to whether it is down to the launch and marketing for the show? Certainly for a potential new musical getting the right people to start talking about it before it opens can be key. So whilst it can be hard work for the production team to engage a ready made audience for the opening of the run it can be extremely important.

In my bio for Twitter I say I’m passionate about theatre and actively promote new material and being a reviewer this is an important part of that role, or at least that’s how I see it. As always I’m interested in your opinions and would love to hear your views so please contact me on Twitter @carnfarmer and thanks for reading.

Caroline Hanks-Farmer

Tuesday 6th January 2015

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