All entries for August 2008

August 01, 2008

Booking tickets

One of the least enjoyable parts of this mass theatre-going life is the intense organisation involved in actually getting around the country in order to see everything I want to. I mention this because last night was spent huddled in front of my computer with my diary open on my lap, frantically doodling on a pad of paper as I planned the next few months.

I'm quite good at organising myself quite far in advance. However, I've had a break from booking tickets for the last couple of months in order to save for the holiday I've just returned from. This means I now have a list of 13 plays currently booking which I need to try and slide into the schedule. Irritatingly, almost all of them are in October which is traditionally one of my busiest months, and many of the runs coincide, hence me sitting with a pen and paper working out what combinations of dates allows me to fit in most. Plus, back-up plans for everything in case performances are sold out.

On top of working out what I can afford and what few dates I can actually attend shows on, I also have to sort out transport. To my increasing regret, I never completed driving lessons (not that I could afford to run a car at the moment, but that's beside the point), so I'm dependent on public transport for most of my theatregoing. From Coventry, I can access evening performances in London and the Midlands quite easily, but if I go much further afield I'm restricted to matinees, which adds a further level of complication.

Then, how many tickets do I want? I may be happy booking my nights out 18 months in advance, but very few of my friends have the luxury of planning that far ahead. So, do I splash out on two and assume I'll find someone to go with, or do I save the pennies and arrange to go by myself?

Finally, I'm lucky enough that I manage to get reviewing comps for the occasional show. This often involves an element of gambling though - do I hold off booking during a priority period in hope for a comp, or do I book regardless in order to guarantee a ticket?

It's a full time job, this. Good job I love it so.

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Peter Kirwan is Teaching Associate in Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama at the University of Nottingham and a reviewer of Shakespearean theatre for several academic journals.

The Bardathon is his experimental review blog, covering productions of (or based on) all early modern plays. The aim is to combine immediate reactions with the detail and analysis of the academic review.

Theatre criticism always needs more voices. Please comment with your own views and contributions!

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