Stand Up and be counted

Seems like there’s an interesting trend going on with influential stand-ups boycotting ATG venues in protest at excessive booking fees / transaction charges. It started with Sarah Millican who won’t play any ATG venues on her 2013/14 tour. Then Jason Manford took the extraordinary step of advising people not to book tickets for his show at the (ATG-run) New Theatre in Oxford where the fees were adding almost £9 to a £24 ‘face value’ ticket price. Most recently, Dave Gorman is giving ATG venues a miss on his 2014 tour for the same reason.

It’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues. ATG of course justifies the charges for the services it offers. Audiences have little option in reality but to pay these fees if they want to see shows in these venues (unless they book in person by cash which is rarely practical). Three isolated comics alone won’t force a change of policy; the situation hasn’t yet reached a tipping point. But this would be very different if one of the big comedy agencies (Off The Kerb for example) took a strategic decision to boycott ATG. Now that really would have the potential to be a game-changer…

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