Several West End theatres are set to introduce live-action advertisement slots during show intervals, it has been announced.
Theatre mangers are hoping this latest gimmick will draw curious crowds as well as provide another revenue stream. In particular, the theatres are hoping to encourage younger audiences to attend shows more regularly; an average audience member is in their 50s, with very few people in their 20s or younger splashing out on tickets.
The average price for the best seats at West End musicals has risen five per cent in recent years to £99.78, pricing many out of certain shows.
“Hopefully, as we monetise these ads, we can pass the savings on to our customers and offer more affordable tickets for younger audience members,” said Gretta Herring, general manager for the London Theatre Royal.
“We are hoping to introduce a free ticket scheme for under-25s in 2018.”
The ads themselves will be performed on stage during the show intervals, meaning there will be one slot available at each participating theatre per say, and two slots on days with matinee performances.
Advertisers will have free reign to write and produce ads. They will be given access to special effects and lighting equipment, as long as it meets the venue’s health and safety requirements and will not interfere with the main production – after all, the show must go on.
During the interval ads, the ban on mobile phones will be lifted and audience members will be encouraged to tweet and share the performances.
“There have been some nay-sayers, but I’m really excited,” said local actor Antony Branding, who has already been signed up for several of the advertisement slots at the London Theatre Royal.
“To me, it feels like a whole new type of theatre, and it’s really exciting to be a part of that.”
The advertising slots will be available at an introductory rate of £1,000, with slots initially running from August-December this year.