Youngsters to get million free theatre tickets

Tue Sep 23, 2008 5:53am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - Young Britons are to get the chance to go to the theater for free in a bid to drum up new audiences, the government said on Tuesday.

The 2.5 million pound scheme, which will run from February 2009, will involve 95 venues across England with a proportion of tickets given away free to anyone under 26.

The aim is to give away a million tickets by March 2011, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said.

"A young person attending the theater can find it an exhilarating experience, and be inspired to explore new horizons," said Culture Secretary Andy Burnham.

"But sometimes people miss out on it because they fear it's 'not for them'. It's time to change this perception."

The scheme will mainly involve venues operated by the Arts Council Britain, which is funding the project, or theatres supported by local councils.

Venues taking part in the scheme will have to guarantee free seats for young people during its two-year period.

"This investment means that a whole new audience will get the chance to enjoy the best our theater has to offer," Burnham said.

(Reporting by Michael Holden)