Is regional theatre becoming more expensive than the West End?

Next month, I am setting sail on the Stages – musical theatre cruise for four days with the likes of Michael Ball, Beverley Knight, Collabro, John Owen Jones and many more incredible performers on board.

Departing from Southampton, I noticed that the current touring production of Wicked is playing there at the same time and not having had a chance to catch the tour yet, I thought I might be able to squeeze it in the night before the cruise leaves. But when I looked for tickets to Wicked in Southampton, I was surprised at just how expensive they seem to be!

In London, prices for Wicked tier from £127.75 all the way down to £26.75 with eight different price variations, depending on where you want to sit. I find you can usually find a decent ‘restricted view’ seat in the stalls for around £30-£40 where you don’t really miss much of the show, the view is just a little off to the side. But when looking at stalls seats for the touring production, the top three price brackets in the stalls are £65, £65 and £65 with a few seats at the back for £29.50. How can three different price brackets be priced exactly the same? On the seating chart they are different colours to differentiate between seat types so surely the prices should go down in variants? But they don’t. Even seats in the circle only vary between £65, £65 and £60 (and Balcony seats £49.50 and £29.50).

I thought touring productions were supposed to be cheaper than the West End but there don’t seem to be any affordable options for this show which surprised me.

Now, most of the performances for the tour of Wicked look on the verge of selling out and so the price of tickets doesn’t seem to be causing an issue and yes, the show is so well known, why wouldn’t people be willing to pay top price to see it around the country. But as a regular theatre goer in the West End, it just surprised me to see so little variation in price brackets.

Is it just Wicked or is this becoming a regular thing with touring productions these days? Let me know your thoughts and experiences. Sadly, I can’t afford to see the touring production of Wicked this time around.


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