YEP Says: Why this Leeds theatre ticket levy is such a major own goal

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COMING JUST a day after the launch of the Leeds Capital of Culture campaign, it is revealed that a theatre in the city is charging 40 per cent more for tickets because of booking fees and a restoration levy.

It’s a racket, according to the Birmingham Stage Company which is concerned about the Leeds Grand Theatre’s decision. In short, it means a £10 ticket to see a show will cost the customer £14.

That’s a little outrageous and it hardly squares with the city’s bid to be at the spearhead of culture in this country.

Neal Thomas of the Birmingham, Stage Company – which produces David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny – says he is a passionate believer in making theatre accessible to all and that these charges will do nothing to encourage people on a budget. We agree with him.

Rather than adding extra costs, our city should be making live stage shows as attractive as possible to customers. The more people we attract to the Grand, the more people will come and spend in Leeds on meals, drink, car parking and hotels. Booking fees and restoration levies should be kept to a minimum. The theatre says it has had booking fees in place for more than two years. And unlike production houses, it does not receive Arts Council funding. That said, adding on big fees is hardly the way to attract audiences.