Since theatres started to reopen around the middle of May - late June, many shows have made changes to their usual schedules, particularly with reference to mid-week matinees, which quite a few productions have chosen not to do in the current booking periods.
They've made this decision for a number of reasons:
There is a lack of International audiences
The groups market, which includes coach tours, school and senior groups, has been in gradual decline for several years.
And there was a lot in uncertainty regarding education groups
This has led to quite a few productions cancelling most of the mid-week matinee performances, which in turn has meant that those shows which kept their mid-week matinees selling out.
The Lion King, for example, doesn't have any Wednesday matinees in November, And only two Wednesday matinees in December. Therefore shows like Matilda and Cinderella are packed and have now availability until the New Year.
So what does this tell us?
I think it tells as that West End producers have, in some cases, massively underestimated the pent up demand by schools to see live theatre. Having spoken to several Box offices in the past week I can tell you that their inboxes are exploding with requests, and they are inundated! Like all businesses though, they prioritise their main clients, like Theatre Workout, so if you want to see a West End production in the next few months, particularly for a matinee, it is best to contact us.
The situation also tells as that ticketing agencies, some of whom may have restructured, relocated, merged, changed ownership, and certainly who have had to make massive cutbacks to their staffing levels during the pandemic, may have also not preempted the demand and have been cut caught short.
Here at Theatre Workout, we too are starting to receive huge numbers of enquiries from UK schools for theatre tickets because teachers are just not getting a response from their usual suppliers.
We're not a tour operator or a traditional ticketing agent - we're somewhere in between - but we do have direct lines to Box Offices, and because of the amount of bookings we do we are very lucky to get looked after quite well.