An innovative scheme aiming to bring theatre to low and no income audiences is being trialled next week with a production of Richard III, in Elephant and Castle.
The idea is called Ticket Forward and offers regular theatre-goers the chance to purchase seats that will then be tallied up and given to local charities focussed on people who feel excluded from society and wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to get culture into their lives. It’s aimed especially at the homeless and unemployed, people on low incomes and victims of domestic violence.
This is the first scheme of its type in the UK, though there have been similar ideas in Continental Europe. Stefania Bochicchio, who has initiated Ticket Forward, compares it to the FairTrade and CrueltyFree initiatives and suggests it could be rolled out in theatres across London and beyond. It has also recently been endorsed by Sir Patrick Stewart (and the name has been trademarked).
Bochicchio said “We often talk and hear about social exclusion; this idea will go a fair way towards providing more than shelter and food to people that need to be taken back to the folds of society.”
The trial has started off encouragingly, with the first woman to book two tickets also paying for a third under the Ticket Forward banner. That ticket will then be considered ‘complimentary’ for someone already signed up on the list, rather than a free handout that has to be asked for.
The performance of Richard III is on at the Draper Hall, a new civic performance space in Elephant and Castle’s Draper Estate. It's an award-winning, one-woman version of Shakespeare’s play chosen to time with the 400th anniversary celebrations of the Bard’s death. It runs from 14-30 January.
Companies and theatres interested in participating in the scheme can get in touch with Bochicchio at firstname.lastname@example.org