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Last Updated: Monday, 27 October, 2003, 18:22 GMT
National Theatre denies cutbacks
Zoe Wanamaker in His Girl Friday
Zoe Wanamaker in His Girl Friday, one of the 10 ticket productions
The National Theatre has denied reports that it has cut budgets to cover a reduction in ticket prices.

The Sunday Telegraph reported directors at its Olivier Theatre were asked to stage productions for 10,000 - one tenth of their normal budget.

The cuts were supposedly due to a low cost pricing structure for seats, introduced by director Nicholas Hytner.

But a National Theatre spokesperson said the costs of the scheme were being met by sponsorship.

The cut-price ticket scheme was introduced to attract a wider range of people to the largest of the National Theatre's three South Bank auditoriums.

The theatre said 1m in sponsorship from Travelex would cover the cost of the scheme, which will run from May to November for three years.

Minimal

Nevertheless a "very different design ascetic" was being applied to the season, which has included productions such as Henry V starring Kenneth Branagh and His Girl Friday starring Zoe Wanamaker.

"It encourages bold, imaginative staging," the National Theatre spokesperson said. "It has been more minimal, creating a space where metaphor flies."

Nicholas Hytner
Nicholas Hytner became the National Theatre's director in April
The simplicity of the sets also enables them to be quickly assembled and removed, she added.

Compared with London theatre ticket prices of up to 35, the 10 ticket season has been hailed a success, credited with making the Olivier Theatre 90% full for many performances.

The four plays in the current season each have a production budget of "around 60,000", the National Theatre said.

They will be followed by a lavish adaptation of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.

"It is going to be one of the most ambitious productions we have ever put on at the Olivier Theatre."


SEE ALSO:
Ticket success at National Theatre
22 Jul 03  |  Entertainment
Hytner takes National Theatre reins
01 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
National Theatre to slash ticket prices
23 Jan 03  |  Entertainment
Theatre boss warns of arts divide
04 Nov 02  |  Entertainment


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