24 January 2014 at 12.15pm | 5 Comments
There has been a lot of coverage of theatre tickets being resold for inflated prices over the past couple of days, and it's something that customers at the ROH have also been affected by. I spoke about the problem on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning and wanted to follow up online.
Only last night, two people arrived to see The Royal Ballet perform Giselle, having paid £150 on Seatwave. They then discovered that they had purchased standing places - not seats - with a face value of £5 each. Our terms and conditions are clear: a ticket holder may not resell a ticket for a profit. Resold tickets are not valid and holders may be refused entry to the show. This is a problem that we see time and again with popular shows like The Nutcracker and expect to see during forthcoming productions such as Faust.
In addition to the disappointment experienced by customers, there is an issue of fairness for people who wish to attend our performances. The ROH is a charity, not a money-making enterprise: we balance the prices that we charge for our tickets against ensuring that they are affordable for a wide range of people. This is why 40% of our tickets are £40 or under. The only reason this is possible is because we receive money from Arts Council England and private donors and sponsors. By selling tickets for a profit, touts are making money from what is a key part of our strategy to make tickets affordable.
To avoid the disappointment we see time and again for customers of websites like Seatwave and Viagogo, these are the steps you can take to get hold of sought-after tickets:
- All returns go onto our website, so if you are looking for tickets for a sold-out show then check the page for that production.
- We sell 67 day tickets at our Box Office from 10am for almost all main-stage performances. If any remain after the day ticket queue has been served then these are sold on the phones or website. All of these tickets are £55 or less.
- We do work with a small number of authorized ticket agencies. See the full list.
- If you cannot use your ticket please return it to the ROH Box Office for resale. There is a very small administration charge. By going through the proper channels you are ensuring that everyone gets a fair chance to buy tickets at reasonable prices.
We have written to tickets reselling sites such as Viagogo, Seatwave, Get Me In and eBay, pointing out that reselling our tickets is in breach of our terms and condition and that they will have to reimburse anybody who is turned away by us. There is legislation that makes ticket touting for football illegal, and this was introduced for the Olympics; however, no such legislation exists for other sport events or music and theatrical presentations.
I would encourage you to use our Box Office and website - or authorized ticket agencies - to purchase tickets to our productions. This is the only way to ensure that you are getting what you pay for.