I’m proud to call myself a supporter of British theatre. As a result I fully appreciate the Olivier Awards. Broadway has the Tonys, Britain has the Oliviers.
They are important and special for everyone who is passionate about the arts. Theatre fans await the nominees with bated breath and the awards ceremony is a glamorous celebration. And that’s good. The arts should be celebrated. However, shouldn’t this celebration include the people that are so very important for the survival of British theatre? Shouldn’t it include the people that go and buy the tickets? The people that spread the word about their favourite show? The people that love and support the arts day after day?
I think it should! But this year the awards ceremony is turned into an event for the few that can and will afford £90 for a ticket that allows them to sit in the highest level of the Royal Opera House. £90 for a seat that won’t even give you a half decent view of the ceremony. Say what you will – for me this screams rip off. I’d be perfectly happy to pay that amount of money for a nice seat with a good view. But to charge so much for seats that are worth £30 at the most is a disgrace.
Whoever came up with that price must have no respect at all of the general theatregoers. But those theatregoers are the people that keep the theatre going. Their passion and enthusiasm is a vital part in the success of a show. Forget the critics. It’s been proven more than once that reviews – bad or good- by the so called “experts” mean next to nothing. Just look at We will rock you – slated by the critics the show is celebrating its 10th anniversary in May.
So why not show the public a bit of respect and give them the chance to experience a special celebration of the thing they love and support? I’m not saying let them sit next to Michael Ball in the stalls. All I’m saying is offer them seats at a fair price. And I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
As much as I like the Olivier Awards and what they represent I urge all of you to not buy a £90 ticket “just to be there”.
Go and support the awards! But do it at the free event in Covent Garden. You can watch the awards on big screens, you get appearances from well known theatre performers and it will cost you nothing. Now that’s what I call a bargain!