It's September, which means Brisbane Festival, which means my bank account is feeling the strain of too many ticket purchases.
Earlier this year my partner and I spent some time adventuring through Europe, where we kept up a rapid-fire pace of theatre attendance. By the time we got to London we were hitting up to 3 shows a day. And I was astonished at how affordable we could make it.
Tiered ticket pricing. It's a bigger system over there. If you want deluxe seats, you can very easily pay a tonne of money to see a show. But if you can't afford that, there are always crappy seats available for a fraction of the price. Or weeknight shows. Or last minute rush seats.
We often complain that we don't have the same audience culture here as what there is overseas. Europeans will flock to the theatres nightly, while we're stuck with bricklayers whinging about artists getting too much money.
I'm not suggesting it's a problem that can be easily solved, but I would suggest that we don't do tiered pricing quite so well. There are a few too many factors that hint towards class structures in our theatre culture - and high ticket prices is definitely one of them. Our full price tickets make up most of the room, and the crappy seats just go empty. If you can't afford it, you're not welcome.
Perhaps if we made more provisions for cheap options, it might encourage a stronger theatre culture amongst those who don't feel comfortable shelling out full price for a seat.
Theatre shouldn't be a fancy ordeal that we have to splash out on. For those who want it to be, and who are happy to pay, then by all means they should be able to! But for those of us who just want to attend regularly and casually - it would be great if there were more incentives to make it affordable.
Until then, there will always be a hint of inaccessibility. A theatre culture that extends more welcome to deeper pockets...