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Free Theatre Tickets

Half a million theatre tickets are being given away free in a bid to encourage more young people to visit the theatre.

A Night Less Ordinary is Arts Council England’s new scheme to get more under 26-year-olds to the theatre. More than 200 venues – from Cornish village halls to the National Theatre – are taking part in the giveaway.

Barbara Matthews, of Arts Council England, said the scheme would last for two years.

Although going to the theatre is not as expensive as many people think – there are all sorts of theatres of ranges and sizes across the country – the best way of getting people to have a go is to say ‘OK, come for free and give it a try’.

People might have a go at something they have never tried before and that’s exactly what we want them to do.

Former Spooks star Rupert Penry-Jones, who began his career on the stage, made an appearance on the BBC breakfast programme yesterday to promote the scheme saying that theatres needed new audiences to secure their long-term survival.

If young people don’t start going now then nobody is going to be going to the theatre in about 10-20 years’ time. We’ll have no audiences there.

I think an experience in the theatre is like no other. When you watch a moving film you do cry, but compared to a moving play – a play that really gets you – it stays with you forever.

The same with laughing. I have laughed so much in the theatre I’ve actually fallen off my seat, whereas in the cinema it’s not quite the same.

And if you look at a theatre audience – if you take your eyes off the stage for a second and look around – the look on their faces is like no other expression in the world.

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