Theaters feel the aftermath of corona: ‘My show was canceled tonight, that is unique’

Comedian Kees van Amstel can talk about it. His performance in Bladel was still sold out yesterday. Tonight the theater canceled the show. “I’ve never seen that before.”

According to him, it is unique for a theater to call that too few tickets have been sold. “It’s not that I’m the pathetic comedian who doesn’t sell out his hall now. But it is striking. I also hear it from colleagues around me.”

And even if a room is sold out, there are still empty seats, he says. “From people who don’t dare to come. Recently there was a lady who wanted to sit at the side. She didn’t dare yet, with people in the middle of the room.”

Fewer subscriptions

What doesn’t help is that far fewer theater subscriptions are being sold, says Van Amstel. With such a subscription you can go to eight or ten performances. “Everyone is now booking at the last minute. I was really on the rise before corona, now it’s really much less.”

Theater producer and member of the Association of Free Theater Producers Rick Engelkes also sees this. Although there are no figures, he notices that fewer tickets are sold industry-wide.

He has run three theater productions himself. Part of the public is not coming yet, he says. “It’s Russian roulette. It’s full investing, while not everything is running yet.”

According to him, there is fear as to whether it is still safe to do so. A second cause: people often plan ahead. “Usually if there is a show in January, you can buy tickets months in advance. Now that ticket sale is only in November and December. Many people don’t buy last-minute tickets. 40- and 50-year-olds are real planners.”

Start at zero

What makes it even more difficult: there is no longer any financial support from the government, he says. And many theaters have limited the marketing department during the crisis. “The staff has been cut to promote performances, so they are also less well brought to the people.”

After the relaxation, the theater industry really started at zero, he says. “We are allowed again, which is very nice. Only you see that not everyone is queuing up to buy the tickets from October 1st. That all really needs to get going again.”

In some places you can see the theater being full, says Boris van der Ham, chairman of the Association of Free Theater Producers. “For example, at performances for which people already had a ticket. They are now going to catch up.”

‘No problem at all’

For example, entertainment company Stage Entertainment says it is not bothered by anything. “Aladdin is going very well. And the musical about Tina Turner too,” says a spokesperson.

That kind of noise – compared to Kees van Amstel who sells out one day and is canceled the next – shows that things go very differently in the theater world, says Van der Ham. “Because of corona, you still see restraint among the public.”

Source: RTL Nieuws by

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