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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 14:31 GMT
West End woos young Londoners
Theatre queue
Most theatre-goers are not from London
Theatre tickets priced as low as 5 are being used to woo young Londoners into the West End.

Just one third of the 12m people who pay to see plays, musicals, dance and operas in London's theatreland actually live in London.

Mayor Ken Livingstone wants to encourage thousands of Londoners, particularly younger residents, to try out the West End and other venues such as the Hackney Empire in east London.

The tickets which can cost up to 40 are being offered at reduced prices of 10, 15 and 20 between 15 January and 29 March.

Booking tickets
To find out about the discounts and to buy tickets call 0870 840 2468
The offer is a joint scheme with the Society of London Theatre.

It follows a "phenomenally successful" similar project which attracted an extra 60,000 people into the West End when tourism dropped off after 11 September.

Some 5 tickets will also be on offer for the under-25s and over-60s.

Stage stars including Sir Ian McKellen, Alan Davies and Michael Greco were at the Criterion Theatre on Wednesday to publicise the Get Into London Theatre promotion.

Some productions taking part
Bombay Dreams
Chicago
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
My Fair Lady
The Lion King
Lord Of The Rings star Sir Ian said: "It's an unbelievable bargain - going to a West End theatre will be cheaper than going to the cinema.

"People think that the theatre is a middle-class reserve, and that's not true.

"Under this scheme they will be able to see a range of shows and, although they may not have a good time every time, with any luck they'll discover that the theatre is a place they like to be and would like to be again."

The London Development Agency is paying 350,000 towards the campaign and the theatre industry is expected to match this amount in ticket reductions.

The mayor hopes that the promotion, which includes discounts at some restaurants, will help boost London's economy.

Mr Livingstone said: "People travel thousands of miles to enjoy our theatre productions.

"But not all Londoners are making the most of what is on their doorstep, in particular young people."

  • To find out about the discounts and to buy tickets call 0870 840 2468
  •   WATCH/LISTEN
      ON THIS STORY
      The BBC's Jane Birch
    "Attendances are still down"
      BBC London's Mike Ramsden
    "Today was aimed at getting Londoners to go to the theatre more often"

    Click here to go to BBC London Online
    See also:

    15 Jan 03 | Entertainment
    15 Jan 03 | England
    10 Jan 03 | Entertainment
    03 Sep 01 | Entertainment
    19 Jul 01 | Entertainment
    28 Feb 01 | Entertainment
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