Thursday, September 29, 2005

Middle-sized theatres

Mark Shenton is in New York and, as he writes on The Stage Newsblog, he is struck by the number of medium-sized theatres.
One of the ongoing problems - or challenges, depending on whether you see the glass half-empty or half-full -— of London as against New York theatre is the nearly complete absence of a commercial middle-ground in London between the high-cost (to audience as well as producers) West End and the low-rent (in every sense) fringe.

While New York theatre can healthily embrace a happy spectrum with a plethora of houses of 499 seats or less (to qualify them as off-Broadway) where producers can actually make money without the crippling risks of Broadway, London has little to offer inbetween the two extremes, though various initiatives - like the Trafalgar Studios and, when it finally gets built, the Sondheim Theatre above the Queen's - are intended to plug that gap.

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