A “Restoration Levy” is an amount of £1.50 which you will notice on your London theatre ticket stub. In very small type! But no-one seems to know where this money is going and no accounts have ever apparently been produced for the theatre going public. There should be notices in the theatres that benefit as to what is happening.
The matter was originally raised in a letter to the Stage at the end of last year from one Alexander Jules.
It was subsequently raised again by our Robert Breckman in the Observer in April 2012. This did not go un-noticed by our eagle eyed clients and there was pertinent feedback to ourselves!
But as yet no-one has responded, so we still pay out and know not where our monies are going. I have little doubt that if one refused to pay this levy, one would not get the theatre ticket. No-one seems responsible. Who do we ask for an explanation?
Transparency – there is none. Why?
Of course, theatres need upkeep. And it is we the theatregoers who eventually have to pick up the tab at the end of the day. One only has to look at the cost of a theatre seat. Including VAT and now the ubiquitous restoration levy and “service charge”, you will be lucky to get a good seat, albeit uncomfortable, for less than £60, to even as much as £90. And if the show does not come up to expectation, it is unlikely that the playgoer will put good money after bad in the early future.
A perusal of plays and musicals in London’s West End will show that new productions are few and far between. It is better to be safe than sorry. Theatres simply cannot afford to be in the risk business any more.
It is fortuitous that they were waiting for Godot. They would not have been able to afford his salary had he turned up.