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Chris Grady: Emerging producers can't afford tickets - can you help?

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At my surgery at the National recently I was talking with an emerging producer and we realised that one of her problems is that she cannot afford to see all the work she would like to.

She is restricted in the main to the National (thank you Travelex and Under 26 schemes) and the Fringe. She rarely sees West End work or the work of the major London producing houses. She is not an actor or a musician, and so she misses out on Equity and MU rates. She is not part of the ticket agency circuit or a friend of the right “guest lists”, and so rarely gets the special offers that flow around the place.

I was reminded of a scheme I set up 15 years ago with West End producers. I wonder whether there’s a way of getting it started here – but this time for emerging creatives. When I set up and ran New Musicals Alliance (now part of Mercury Musical Development) I had a deal going with all the major Musical Theatre producers – and I wonder whether anyone would be willing to create it again....

Each member had a voucher, and if they wanted to see/study a West End show they could go to the box office at 7.29pm and the deal was very simple – if there was an empty seat in the house they could sit in it for free. If there was some restriction that made free impossible then they would be offered the biggest possible discount that anyone could get at that performance.

In this way a writer (and now a producer) could go two, three, four times to see a major show, and study it carefully. See different casts. See different musical directors at work. Consider the show from different parts of the house. All designed, 15 years ago, to make the writer a better writer and now, if any producers are reading this, to give young producers and creatives the chance to study your work in depth without being either rich or knowing someone influential.

Any producers, networks, marketing agencies, or angels interested in helping make something like this happen. Plenty more ideas where this one came from – just give me a shout and see whether CGO can make connection.


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