Critics Don’t Have to Go Solo in Blackpool

Winter Gardens Opera House

A few weeks ago London’s National Theatre reveal that they will stop reviewers bringing guests. However, theatre bosses in Blackpool say they will continue to welcome reviewers with a plus-one following the announcement.

It has been widely reported that from August the National Theatre will no longer give theatre critics an extra ticket enabling them to bring a friend or colleague with them to see a production.

Hundreds of reviewers from both print and broadcast media are invited to the Winter Gardens myriad of shows and concerts each year and in all instances reviewers are welcome to bring a guest.

Winter Gardens Managing Director Michael Williams said reviewers are a vital tool in promoting many of the venues’ productions and it is the company’s policy to invite a guest with every reviewer.

He said: “We invite a large number of reviewers to every production in the Winter Gardens and we welcome them with open arms.

“Of course there are times when the journalist or individual invited may not write or report the best review but that is the risk you take.

“In the main we enjoy incredibly favourable reviews and that support is an essential tool in helping to promote a show. Many people wait until they read a review before deciding whether to buy a ticket for a show so it is essential that we invite and welcome as many reviewers as possible and that we ensure they have a good experience.

“To go to the theatre alone when you are working rather than through choice is a very different experience. I would never expect a reviewer to sit on their own through a show. We want them to come and enjoy an evening out with their friend or colleague and if that means providing two tickets then so be it.”

As someone who has attended productions as a reviewer, I have been very grateful for the opportunity to take a friend. Not only, so I don’t have to sit by myself, but also to get another perspective on the production, to help with the writing of the review itself. I, for one, welcome the decision by our local theatres to continue to offer reviewers an additional ticket, so they don’t have to go-it-alone.

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