Statistics often show that people's interest in theatre has fallen in recent years. Audience with sadness talk about ‘theatre crisis’. But one of the reasons of this ‘crisis’ is that theatre has ceased being affordable for most part of the traditional audience – ticket prices in Moscow theatres are five times as expensive as in Europe.
According to Russian Public Opinion Research Center (WCIOM) 33% of the respondents stopped going to theatres in the last 10 years, 14% of them named high ticket prices were the reason.
Famous and well-known Moscow theatres sell their best seats for 2000–3000 Russian Rubles (approx. ?55-85). Moscow Art Theatre, for instance, almost 100 years ago was declared as ‘the most affordable theatre’ now appears to be mostly for well-to-do spectators. Tickets to the performances shown at the Chekhov International Theatre Festival, whose major venue was Moscow Art Theatre, cost from 1000 to 5000 Rubles (approx. ?30-140).
In Europe there is a well established discount system for different audience groups. In Moscow everyone standing at the box office is treated equally. Ultimately that means that for 200 – 300 Rubles (approx. ?5-8) an average theatre visitor will not be able to watch a performance which sets tendencies or raises discussion in theatre circles or which are Events in theatre life.
Naturally this process of ‘selecting’ the audience according to their monetary value or paying capacities leads to the fact that the best part of the audience has left theatre halls – theatre stops being an art affordable and accessible to everyone but becomes a very expensive kind of entertainment.
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