The National Theatre is to introduce a policy banning critics from bringing so-called “plus ones” to performances.
Traditionally, theatres and music venues issue two tickets to every attending critic, so they can bring a friend or colleague to shows.
But the National Theatre website now states that, from August, critics will have to purchase any extra tickets.
The company said the move would allow them to offer more seats to critics from online and broadcast media.
The change in policy was first noticed in a press release for the upcoming production of the Threepenny Opera at the National’s Olivier Theatre.
A line at the bottom stated: “In some cases, it may be possible to buy a second ticket. If you would like to bring a guest, do let us know.”
Mark Shenton, chairman of the drama section of the Critics’ Circle and lead critic of The Stage, raised the issue with the National Theatre after feedback from colleagues.
In a letter to the company, he said other critics were concerned the “breach of a long-established protocol” would “spread to other theatres”.
“Of course there is no automatic right to a second free ticket, and this is definitely in the category of privilege not a right,” he said.
“But the National also imposed it without any prior notice or consultation whatsoever, and it was only on a close reading of the latest invitation to their next production that the new policy came to light.”
Responding to Mr Shenton’s concerns, Vicky Kington, the National Theatre’s head of press, said the company would delay implementing the new policy until August.
“Having listened to your concerns it is clear that we did not give enough time to introduce this change,” Ms Kington wrote back to Mr Shenton.
“With this in mind we can now confirm that the NT’s policy of offering a pair of …read more
Source:: BBC Entertainment