Tuesday, June 20, 2006


RSC launches new Courtyard Theatre with free tickets for young people

To celebrate the opening of its new temporary venue, The Courtyard Theatre, the RSC and ITV Central have launched a unique initiative to give young people access to theatre. During July and August, the opening months of The Courtyard Theatre’s operation, 100 tickets per performance will be available free to under 30s. The offer builds on the success of the RSC’s £5 tickets for 16-25 year olds designed to introduce young people to theatregoing.

The Courtyard Theatre, designed by Ian Ritchie Architects, is the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new 1,000 seat temporary theatre. The new venue opens on 7 July 2006 with RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd’s productions of Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy – a highlight of the Company’s acclaimed Complete Works festival.

Artistic Director Michael Boyd said: ‘We’re always looking at new ways to introduce young people to Shakespeare and we know that the cost of tickets can be a deterrent. To open The Courtyard Theatre we’ve set aside tickets for each performance to target new audiences for our work – making the most of the extra capacity in Stratford this summer. Looking at our current audience, it’s young people who are under-represented. That’s why I’m delighted to be working with ITV to give anyone under 30 the chance to see our work for free at the height of the Complete Works festival.

‘The Courtyard already has charisma. It’s going to be a great place to see Shakespeare – an intimate theatre where the actors and the audience are in the same room, allowing the performance to become an “up-close”, shared experience.’

Ticket offer targets youth
The offer is open to anyone aged 30 and under living in the UK and free tickets are valid for all performances of Shakespeare’s Henry VI Parts I, II and III in The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon during July and August 2006. The 100 tickets for each performance will be spread throughout the theatre, including the best seats in the house. Tickets are limited to two per person and allocated on a first come, first served basis subject to availability. Booking for the under 30s offer, via the Box Office (01789 403492) or the RSC’s website, opens on 20 June.

This new initiative targets young people who are beginning to make their own decisions about how they spend their spare time. Currently under-represented in the RSC’s existing audiences, the initiative aims to attract young people under-30s who are beginning to develop their own tastes and leisure habits. Research of the RSC’s £5 ticket scheme for 16-25 year olds shows the ticket offer has attracted a more socially and ethnically diverse audience. One third of the 10,000 young people who have taken up the offer were attending the RSC for the first time. The cost of the £5 tickets was the prompt for two thirds of the 16-25 year old audience to attend.

Ian Squires, Managing Director, ITV Central said:‘ITV Central prides itself in its role as a champion for the region and has always been a major supporter of theatre and the RSC.

‘This partnership gives our viewers the unique opportunity to find out more about the RSC and its work first-hand, and gives Central News the chance to assist in attracting a new audience to Stratford.’

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