Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Pay Whatyou Want for the Shows at the Arts Centre

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Pay Whatyou Want for the Shows at the Arts Centre

Article excerpt

Byline: Joanne Welford Reporter

TEESSIDE arts venue Arc is to let audiences decide what they want to pay for their tickets - after seeing a show.

The new pricing policy at the Stockton venue gets under way on Friday when Arc hosts a performance by actor Jack Bennett with his show Too Much, Too Young.

Arc is one of the first venues to try out the new pricing policy - the only other theatre currently using it is Slung Low's Hub in Leeds.

The move, called Pay What You Decide, is being given a trial from January to June. It has been introduced to encourage more people to see shows at the venue by removing the cost barrier to going to the theatre.

Audience members can pay what they can afford rather than a set ticket price - and don't have to part with their cash at all if they haven't enjoyed the show.

Arc chief executive Annabel Turpin is confi-dent the new pricing policy will be a success. "Firstly, we know there are some people who would like to come and see work at Arc who genuinely can't afford to come, or can't afford to come as often as they might want to. "PWYD allows people to come and pay whatever they can afford, which might be nothing at all, or to spread out what they can afford to pay over a number of shows, enabling them to see more," she said.

"Secondly, we know that coming to see theatre shows at Arc is a risk - our theatre programme is new and exciting, and we tend not to present famous actors, book adaptations and set texts.

"Other venues in the area present this kind of more mainstream work, so we try and complement what is available by presenting new work - new plays that haven't been produced before, either written as scripts or made up during the rehearsal process, or work that is performed in different formats.

"Coming to see new work presents a greater risk, as audience members don't know the actors or stories, and therefore don't know if they are going to enjoy it.

"We are very confident that people will enjoy the work we present, but PWYD allows them to come and decide for themselves, thereby removing the risk of paying for something you don't enjoy. …

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