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The Size of Tickets

July 3, 2013

It isn’t just prices that are going up, it’s the size of the tickets. Has anyone else noticed? When I started theatregoing, the tickets always fitted neatly into the special “ticket” flap my wallet has. They were always about 8 by 6cm (The Royal Opera House’s a dinky 7 by 4), had all the details you needed on them, no problem. No truck required to carry them around, basically. They were pre-printed of course, torn from big books, and you could argue that that was wasteful for unused ones… but I’m not so sure the current system is any better…

Printing tickets only on demand should save paper. In the early days, judging from my archive, it did. Ticketmaster got theirs down from 15.5 by 5 to 14 by 5, and rival First Call used a miniature 10 by 5, later 12 by 5. Still wallet sized, with all the data required.

So how did we get to today? True, you need a big ticket to get the title “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” onto – and to put the issue date, booking reference and customer name on… but the 18.5 by 8 used by Really Useful Group and Nimax Theatres? ATG (and the National Theatre) come in slightly smaller at about 14 by 8, and Delfont Mackintosh manage 12 by 8 or so, with the same information.

Still, none of them fit in that little “ticket” flap my wallet has, and they have to sit uncomfortably in the “banknote” section instead, meaning that I have to endure the Queen blinking in the light every time I want to enter a theatre.

Printing your own ticket doesn’t help much either. The Open Air Theatre’s 2013 season tickets come in at 13 by 12cm – and A4 if you can’t be bothered to cut the actual ticket from the surrounding information.

Could ticket prices fall if the producers need to buy fewer trees? That is my ecological question of the day… answers on a postcard (14 by 8 of course), please.

  1. Rachel permalink
    July 3, 2013 8:43 pm

    Haha – I liked the ‘reply by postcard’ bit! I thoroughly agree, are we not in a tech-savy enough generation for a greater push for smartphone friendly tickets and the other day I was given a receipt-ticket combo packed into an airline-type paper ticket holder from the box office!

    • Steve Rich permalink*
      July 4, 2013 7:33 am

      I’d forgotten about the wrappers – amazed you got one at the actual counter, though LOL.

      Good point about smartphones too. I guess once ownership grows to include luddites like me, it could be widespread. On the other hand, however big and clumsy, I’d miss the souvenir of a proper ticket, I guess…

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