Students frustrated over ADC ticket price hike

Hazel Shearing 7 May 2014

The ADC theatre has increased all ticket prices for Mainshows, prompting students’ complaints that they were not informed of the changes and concerns that the price hike may deter students from theatre.

Student ticket prices for Easter 2014 have risen by £1 across the board since last term for all Mainshows, alongside a £2 increase for adult tickets. The changes, which went unannounced, now require students to pay £9 to see productions in the standard price band and £11 in the higher band.

Students have expressed their irritation with the increase. Yesterday one student posted on the Cambridge Theatre Facebook group, “Why did I just pay £11 for a student ticket to 'The Tempest'? Seriously, what's going on?”.

                                   

Clare student David Tremain agreed with a comment on the Facebook post that the increase was “Nat cool [sic].” He told The Cambridge Student, “It might be harder to attract people who are new to theatre… The ADC has vast funds available, and makes huge profits. I do wonder if these increased ticket prices are really necessary”.

TCS spoke to Flo Carr, the Theatre Manager at the ADC, who explained that this is not the case. In the last academic year the ADC saw an operational loss of around £6,000. With no increase in this year’s budget, she argued that the ticket price hike was one of the measures put in place “to turn this situation around” and break even.

“The theatre currently receives no funding, either from the University, the council or anywhere else, so needs to run as a self-sufficient business”, Carr said. She also stressed that this is the first increase in prices since 2010: “Ticket prices must go up at some point to account for inflation”. Taking over management of the Corpus Playroom has been a significant extra strain on ADC staffing in recent years, she noted.

Playwright Eli Keren expressed his sympathy for the changes while also raising concerns: "If nobody is put off, slightly higher prices would make breaking even easier. If people are put off, it would make it more difficult, and I really want to see student theatre remain as accessible as it is. Only time will tell!"

When asked whether students would be deterred by the new prices, Carr commented, “I believe that our ticket prices are still favourable in comparison with other venues in Cambridge…. I hope that students will not be put off from coming to support the huge amount of work, time and effort which their fellow students put into all our shows”.

A main concern for Cambridge theatre-goers, however, is that students weren’t informed about the price-hike. Nisha Emich, who has been heavily involved in acting in the ADC, believes that the price hike is “counter-productive in encouraging students from a variety of backgrounds to see more theatre”. However, after expressing her disapproval on the Facebook post, she told TCS that her views on the price increase have mellowed. “Its not hugely more expensive,” she said, “what annoyed me so much was the lack of an announcement.

SOMETHING to acknowledge that it has changed and they appreciate that it’s annoying” would have been preferable to silence, she said. “The fact that it took people by surprise made it feel less like the ADC was a company students were intrinsically a part of and more like a company we are working on the fringes of.”