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Kevin Spacey hits out at West End ticket prices

15th March 2012

Ticket prices for West End shows are too high, according to Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey, who claims London theatres risk alienating younger people unless the cost of attending a stage production is reduced.

The Oscar-winning actor said he is 'embarrassed' that the average ticket for a West End play costs £50, which is almost double the average admission price at regional theatres.

Data published recently by the Society of London Theatre (Solt) revealed that West End box office revenues were the highest ever last year, though the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds attending productions decerased yet again.

'If we don't reach out to make theatre affordable to the young generations we will lose them all. It is so short-sighted not to think about your future audiences,' Spacey told The Stage magazine.

'What happens when this generation that is currently going to the theatre passes onto the great theatre in the sky? Who is going to replace them?'

A survey conducted by Solt and published alongside the attendance figures revealed that 52 per cent of theatregoers would like to see stage productions more often, but are put off by ticket prices.

However, Mark Rubinstein, president of Solt, claimed that action is already being taken to boost the appeal of theatre to younger people, with Kids Week in August offering free tickets to children under the age of 16.

'Theatre is expensive because it is a unique experience; it is not a cheap thing to put on,' he added.

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