No penny for negative thought

October 23, 2013

Dublin based theatre group, Ramblinman, have come up with a novel approach to getting bums on seats (Yes. I went there). For the preview performances of their first ever show, Sam Shepard’s True West, the script based collective gave theatergoers the opportunity to pay what they thought the production was worth, running the risk of getting a duck egg if they didn’t cut the mustard.

“Because we’re a new company we are trying to establish ourselves and create an identity,” says James Murphy, co-director of the show. “We want to reach out to potential audiences. People can come in; engage with the work and the ticket will only cost them however much they think it was worth. It’s a good way to gauge how far along the production has come and where it needs to go after opening night.”

When alternative rock group Radiohead pulled a similar trick in 2008 however most people who downloaded their album, In Rainbows, chose not to pay for the privilege. Murphy thinks theatre audiences have loftier morals than their musical compadres. “I honestly believe that most people who go to the theatre go there because they want to see something, not because they want to get something for free. If you engage them and you entertain them and the performances are good, they will pay a reasonable price for the show.”

First Published in the Sunday Independent, 8th of April 2012


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