We are sorry if some people who would wish to book one ticket to our live music programme feel discriminated against. This is absolutely not the case.
The vast majority of live music venues across the UK remain shut. In Wolverhampton this includes the Slade Rooms, Grand Theatre and Arena Theatre. In the region Midland Arts Centre, Warwick Arts Centre, Birmingham Rep, Birmingham Hippodrome and many more are closed.
NAC took the decision back in May that it would undertake a phased re-opening to provide as full a programme onsite as possible. Everyone has had to adapt to the new circumstances: our residents have had their access hours restricted, and participants at courses and classes have to observe strict social distancing and room capacity guidelines.
The very limited live music programme that we are currently able to present must take place under the Tier 2 COVID guidelines. This means that not only is our seated capacity reduced from 150 to 40 (so that each party can be 2m from each other and 3m from the performers), each group must be from only one household. If we sold all our much-reduced capacity as single tickets then we would be full with only 20 tickets sold.
The finances of these concerts are wafer-thin: no-one is doing much more than cover costs. A capacity of less than 40 makes them completely uneconomic. We have chosen – as other small venues have done – not to cancel planned concerts in response to the government guidance changes, but to change our ticketing policy to ensure that we can continue to sell every seat. This means that we cannot currently offer single seats for sale until a few days before the concert.
We are not happy with this situation, but feel that supporting artists and enabling them to perform and earn a professional fee for doing so is more vital than ever. We hope that our audiences will support us in making these live music events happen at this time, even if it means they personally can’t attend.
NAC is in constant communication with Wolverhampton City Council Public Health and should the guidelines change we will of course update our ticketing policies.