Making concessions

U-turn on cheap ticket policy

A London council has done a U-turn on offering cheap tickets to comedy shows – amid fears the deal could have broken anti-discrimination laws.

The borough of Hackney had offered tickets to shows featuring the likes of Alistair McGowan, pictured, Richard Blackwood and John Hegley for just £2.

But to qualify, you had to be a first-time theatre-goer and fulfil one of a number of criteria – including being black or from an ethnic minority.

The Commission For Racial Equality said the £10.50 discount offered at the Hackney Empire could fall foul of the law.

In a statement, management at the newly-restored Victorian music hall said: “The criteria were drawn up as these groups have historically been under-represented in attending live theatre.  

“Hackney Strategic Partnership have subsequently re-evaluated the criteria to offer discounted tickets to all first-time theatre goers who live and work in Hackney.  

“We welcome their decision as it will help our task of encouraging new audiences to the Hackney Empire.”

Around 3,000 leaflets promoting the scheme have been withdrawn following the change in policy.


Published: 2 Feb 2005

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