Discussion · Theatre

How Can We Encourage More Young People To Go To The Theatre?

Featured image credit to Whats On Stage. Recently The Stage published the results of a survey stating that 24% of young adults never go to the theatre…So it got me thinking, how can we encourage more young people to go to the theatre? I mean I myself don’t go nearly as much as I would like because it’s expensive, but is that the only reason why young people don’t go? I asked on my Twitter what people thought the reasons are and some of these appear below! You can read the original article here. 

 

Money:

I don’t see nearly as much theatre as I want to and it’s because of money! For a lot of people it’s just a luxury that they can’t afford. This is even more true for young people who might be students, unemployed or just paying ridiculously high rent prices. When a ticket to the cinema or a night in with a pizza and Netflix is cheaper, why travel to the theatre to pay a premium rate for entertainment, especially if it’s not your usual form of entertainment? Even seasoned theatre goers are less likely to take a risk on something new based on how high the prices are, especially in the West End.

Solution: Advertise concessions more. A lot of theatres do Pay What You Can performances. Places like The Globe has £5 tickets and a lot of theatres offer cheaper seats for students.

Culture:

If you weren’t brought up going to the theatre, than you’re less likely to just go on a whim. A lot of people on my Twitter thread said that they thought people might be put off by “theatre etiquette.” How to act, how to dress. I definitely think this could be true, I can’t help it but get annoyed at people taking photos or a rustling packet. But would I put up with it if it meant that more people were being introduced to theatre, I think everyone would. Sometimes theatre can be seen as “elitist” and that young, non theatre goers aren’t welcome. This needs to change because the reality is, is that theatre is for EVERYONE. Everyone who is actually engaged in the industry knows this, so it’s up to us to make that change.

Solution: Change it up. Promote theatre to young people that will appeal to them. New, current and experimental stuff. Get rid of those rubbish unspoken rules and throw the doors wide, welcome in one and all and show how inclusive theatre really can be.

Education:

It’s no secret that the arts are being cut left right and centre in our schools and even those that are fighting to keep them going are fighting with an out of touch curriculum. I love Shakespeare and old Willy Russel plays as much as the next person but there is so much more out there. Even my Alevel and Degree had way too many cross overs, and a lot of my love of Drama is self taught. I spoke to a few teachers on my Twitter and they said that these days budgets don’t stretch to theatre trips until GCSE level, for the most part. This means that those kids who don’t get taken to the theatre, never get a chance to go. How heartbreaking!

Solution: Engage children more from a younger age. Encourage more curriculum wide funding for the arts and partnerships between theatres and schools. Once again, promote and engage with new, up and coming artists. Make the arts actually seem as important as they are!

Industry:

Someone on my thread mentioned that marketing doesn’t seem to be as strong, which, if you ultimately only see things that catch your eye on a poster, side of a bus or on the internet, isn’t good. Step it up! There is so much wonderful theatre out there outside of London and tours from London. Regional theatre is wonderful and local theatre is even cheaper and is always accessible.

Solution: Adapt market ting schemes, get new lovers of theatre and keep them on board! Market cheaper tickets more widely (e.g by using services like Wuntoo, O2 rewards etc?) and where possible, big up regional and local theatres!

 

Anyone who works in the industry and is particularly involved in engagement should have found that article pretty worrying. It’s time to change, no? Let me know your thoughts down below!

Follow me on twitter for updates on what I’m reading.

Thanks lovelies and happy reading! xo

 

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “How Can We Encourage More Young People To Go To The Theatre?

  1. This was a really interesting read. I definitely think theatres could do more to promote their shows to younger audiences, especially as you say the modern/experimental/small theatre company stuff and/or the cheap shows/tickets – I’ve enjoyed going since I can remember but I have to make a concerted effort to find out what’s on – if I was a young person, especially one not already engaged with performing arts, why would I do that? And agree that people definiteky still have apprehensions about theatre as something ‘posh’ and dress codes/how to behave etc – again a ficus on young, modern, innovative, cheap shows in the smaller studio settings might help to combat this?
    Sorry – long, waffly comment!

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  2. These are all very well-founded points that I never even considered so thanks for opening my eyes to this issue. As a teen, I can add that perhaps one reason people in my age group avoid plays is because so often, audience members are scrutinized for filming/using phones. At least at all the ones I’ve been to, you get judged if your phone screen is because the actors get distracted by the flashing lights…which is totally understandable. I personally loves plays and am unphased by these phone rules…I like to experience life in the moment…I’m just saying most people my age don’t. To my dismay, I think there’s this unspoken rule amongst teens where: “if the event isn’t on your snapchat story, then you’re just as boring as the person who didn’t go at all.”

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