In a scheme worthy of Tony Soprano, Playhouse Whitley Bay is now charging a £2 administration fee for customers to collect their own tickets.
I’m told that this also affects online bookings, so in effect customers are charged £2 to print out their tickets at home, using their own ink.
As an example, I recently bought an £11 ticket, there was a booking fee of £1.50 and if I’d paid the £2 administration fee the total cost would have been £14.50 – almost a third in add-on charges. How can this be justified?
Regarding the £1.50 booking fee, this is per ticket, and there are no concessions for the disabled, elderly and those on benefits.
The way for customers to avoid the charges is to visit the Playhouse in person to pay in cash, but not everyone has that option.
I’m not knocking the Playhouse for the quality of its productions.
There is a varied programme of shows and the refurbishment of the building has certainly improved it.
However, I do think they need to look more carefully at the pricing structure or risk alienating the customer base.