Comedian Case Van Amstel can talk about that. Yesterday his performance in The Hague still ran out. The Bledel Theater canceled the show tonight. “I’ve never seen that before.”
According to him, it is so unique for the theater to name that so few tickets were sold. “It’s not that I’m the pathetic comedian who isn’t selling his hall now. But it’s amazing. I also hear it from my colleagues around me.”
He says that even if a room is sold, there are still empty seats. “From people who wouldn’t dare to come anyway. Recently there was a lady who wanted to sit next to her. She didn’t dare yet, people in the middle of the room.”
What doesn’t help, van Amstel says, is that far fewer theater subscriptions are being sold. With this subscription, you can go to eight or ten shows. “Everyone is booking now at the last minute. I was really on the rise before Corona, and now it’s a lot lower.”
Theater producer and Free Theater Producers Association member Rick Inglis sees this too. Although there are no numbers, he noted that fewer tickets are being sold industry-wide.
He has directed three theater productions himself. He says a part of the audience is yet to come. “It’s Russian roulette. It’s a complete investment, while not everything has been played yet.”
According to him, there is fear as to whether it is still safe to do so. The second reason: People often plan ahead. “Usually if there is a show in January, you can buy tickets months in advance. Now this ticket sale is only in November and December. Not many people buy last minute tickets. People between 40 and 50 are real planners.”
Start from scratch
What makes it even more difficult: There is no longer any financial support from the government, he says. Many theaters have limited their marketing department during the crisis. “The staff has been cut back to promote the shows, so they’re also less bringing in people.”
After the relaxation, the theater industry really started from scratch, he says. “He let us in again, which is very nice. You just see that not everyone is queuing up to buy tickets from October 1st. All of this really needs to come back again.”
In some places, you can see the theater full, says Boris van der Ham, president of the Free Theater Producers Association. “For example, on shows that people already had a ticket for. Now they’re catching up.”
‘No problem at all’
For example, entertainment company Stage Entertainment says they are not bothered by anything. “Aladdin is going well. And the musical is about Tina Turner, too,” says her spokesperson.
This kind of hype – compared to Kees van Amstel selling one day and scrapped the next – shows that things work very differently in the theater world, van der Ham says. “Because of Corona, you still see restraint among the public.”
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