Ambassador Theatre Group mourning Millican tour boycott over ticket fees

sarah-millican We all like to laugh, and one of the country’s most popular laugh-bringers is Sarah Millican. But Sarah has just rebranded herself as a consumer champion as well, making a stand against unscrupulous theatres and their vile ticket fees.

Sarah has announced a vast UK tour for 2013/14 but she WON’T be setting foot in any of the 39 venues owned by the Ambassador Theatre Group, and it’s all because of the added fees they slap on to the cost of the tickets for their shows.

On her site, Sarah says:

'Some of you will notice that I’m not playing some of the venues I played on my last tour, those venues are owned and run by The Ambassador Theatre Group. I don’t agree with the extra charges ATG put on top of the face value ticket price to you the customer and a number of other restrictions they have in place so that’s why I’ve avoided their venues this time round. We’ve booked alternative theatres though across the country so you will still be able to find somewhere close to you to come and see the show.'

ATG, which has a separate ticketing agency arm, adds up to £4.90 to the face value of each purchased ticket, plus a transaction fee that can be as high as £4. Plus, if the prices of the drinks in the bar at their Sunderland Empire venue are anything to go by, they’re stinging the punters that way as well.

As noted on the Chortle website, a £25 ticket for Alan Davies at the Oxford New Theatre will actually set you back £32.90 if you buy it from the website – with an extra £7.90 in fees and charges slapped on for your pleasure. Having said that, Ticketmaster aren’t much better, and Ms Millican is using them to sell the tickets for her non-ATG tour. A £25 ticket has a booking fee of £4.40 and a £2.25 charge for you to have the privilege of printing it out yourself in the comfort of your own home (weirdly, to have it posted to you is only £2.05). So that’s an added £6.65 bunged on to the face value of your ticket. Nice.

ATG have said: 'All, or the vast majority, of the sales income from tickets in our venues goes to the producer of the show, hence the need to charge for ticketing operations separately. ATG and its ticketing arm also provide an extremely high level of customer service and the ticketing fees cover the costs of providing this service. However booking fees only apply to customers who buy on the phone or online.'

Perhaps by denying them what would be a significant amount of income, Sarah Millican might have started to force the beginning of a change in attitudes. Mind you, it’s a pity that she couldn’t have found a way to sell her tickets without lining the pockets of Ticketmaster as well…


  • PH
    If (and where) possible, I always use WeGotTickets which charges a flat 10% fee on top of the ticket price and generates e-tickets (so no additional delivery fees, etc). I appreciate they have their problems and may/could struggle without the support of venues, who they themselves may be tied in to distribution deals with the likes of Ticketmaster. It's a shame though. There's nothing so annoying as seeing a reasonably priced ticket escalate upwards and (if you're not able to get to a venue to purchase in cash) being forced to pay that with no reasonable explanation or alternative to force these companies to give purchasers a break. :(
  • Kevin
    If she signed a deal to give more of the ticket money to the venue then it wouldn't be a problem. It's not all one sided. And she's using Ticketmaster? Blimey talk about narrow vision.
  • CNUT
    I think the main difference here is that the theater are charging booking fees for a show in their own building, whereas Ticketmaster are solely a ticket broker/agent who sell on behalf of bands/acts... The venue will make a killing from food and drink sales, as well as a percentage of ticket sales. The booking fee thing is a total scam, its one thing for agents and brokers to do it, but now venues getting in on the act too. Cunts.
  • Sicknote
    Who is Sarah Millican anyway....?
  • Bill R.
    We stopped going to live gigs because of the extortionate booking fees, at Newcastle Arena even if you pay at the venue desk you are still charged the booking fee so stuff them, they need us more than we need them - long may the Pirate Bay survive.
  • idi
    Expensive drinks at theatre bars? Whatever next!
  • Glorious
    Just booked some through the venue and they're sending out the tickets for a mere 80p postage fee - you don't have to use Ticketmaster.
  • Tim B.
    Or you could just pop into the theatre, buy a ticket, and pay the face value. No booking or postage fees at all.
  • The i.
    ATG and its ticketing arm also provide an extremely high level of customer service and the ticketing fees cover the costs of providing this service. many times does this come up...lame excuse

What do you think?

Your comment