Entertainment & Arts

Mark Gatiss: Tickets prices make West End an 'exclusive club'

Mark Gatiss Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mark Gatiss said people could be put off going to the theatre if it was too expensive

Sherlock creator Mark Gatiss has said West End theatre can feel like an "exclusive club for rich white people" because tickets are so expensive.

Gatiss, who won an Olivier Award for his role in Three Days in the Country earlier this year, also said audiences could be put off if they pay a lot to see a show and then do not like it.

"You can't really take a risk [at that price]," he told The Stage.

But he praised theatres running schemes offering cheaper tickets.

They include the National Theatre's £15 tickets and the Donmar Warehouse initiative giving free tickets to under-25s.

Gatiss, who also acts in Sherlock, joins fellow actors Mark Rylance and Juliet Stevenson, who have also complained recently about the price of West End tickets.

The average price for a theatre ticket in London last year was £42.99, according to the Society of London Theatre.

'Accessible to all'

Gatiss told The Stage: "I went to see a show the other day, I won't name it. And it cost about a quarter of million pounds to see it, and it wasn't very good. You can't really take a risk [at that price]."

The former League of Gentlemen performer added: "If you pay for a night out in the West End and it's about £95, and you don't have a good time, you feel it. That will probably put you off going."

Speaking at a launch event for his new play The Boys in the Band, which opens at the Park Theatre in London later this month, he also said his relatives go to the theatre "once in a blue moon", adding of such an attitude: "You need to fight that."

A Society of London Theatre spokesman responded by saying: "The theatre industry is committed to ensuring tickets are available at every price point.

"The industry's support of initiatives like Mousetrap Theatre Projects, Kids Week, Get Into London Theatre and many other schemes help make theatre accessible to all."

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