Fewer premieres and shortening of the heating season: Theaters are saving, but their operating costs are rising
According to their management, many of the theaters contacted by ČTK will try to get by and will not raise prices until the end of the year. Michal Zelenka from the Ungelt Theater said that the stage will try to handle the situation with dignity, he did not want to comment on the question of possible price increases. Also, the Drama Club will not raise entrance fees at least until the end of the year, its spokeswoman Linda Skarlandtová told ČTK.
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“We have shortened the heating season by a month, and by the end of the year, for financial reasons, there will be one instead of only two. We are not planning an opening premiere, as we have already done so in the previous one,” said Lucie Flemrová, spokeswoman for the Theater on the Railings.
The theater in Dlouhá says that it was already forced to make maximum savings in previous seasons due to covid. “We have already exhausted all options,” spokeswoman Karola Štěpánová said. “We do not plan to increase the price of admission until at least the end of the calendar year. We hope that thanks to the support of our founder, the city of Prague, we will be able to maintain its current level. This is because half of our viewers are children and youth,” she added.
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“The increase in energy prices already affected us at the beginning of 2022, which is why we already adopted several cost-saving measures in the spring, among which I count the limitation of the number of playing dates, the reduction of the budget for the production of individual productions, cost savings in various levels of artistic, artistic-technical and administrative operations ” said Daniel Hrbek, the director of the Švand Theater. The theater does not increase the price of tickets yet, the last time it did so was last November.
Hrbek reckons that more savings will have to come. What and when prices depend on many circumstances, the main ones will be energy, the attitude of the founder, the political attitude and preferences of the new political representation of the capital, the rate of inflation, price increases and the behavior of the audience, he said. “I assume that all low-income theater professions will also find themselves in trouble, which can also have a great impact on the entire creative sector. So we do not expect an easy period, but we are ready to solve the situation taking into account the level of obstacles that we face – and will face – in the way,” he added.
An increase of one hundred and fifty percent to ours
Not even the Prague cultural center Vzlet will increase the entrance fee. “We will try to compensate for the enormously increased energy prices since October 2021, the rent increase for the Vzlet buildings by 150 percent since January 2023, and the high inflation by intensifying our additional activities, i.e. rentals or assigned events,” said director Petr Prokop. In contrast to institutions, in Vzlet, the income from the entrance is less cultural income while maintaining roughly sixty percent self-sufficiency, he said.
The MANA theater is also located in Vršovice. Its director, David Frýdl, stated that the theater today has the advantage of being a low-cost project from its beginnings. “The situation of increasing energy prices and ongoing inflation is in many ways worse for theaters than it was during the covid measures, which were mitigated by compensation from the state budget, but also by the willingness of the audience to return to the theater after almost two years of fasting. Now ticket sales for the new season have started much slower, people with purchases and often wait until the last minute,” he stated.
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“We still hold pre-covid prices and are what I read on the 90-year-old posters displayed in our foyer: the cheapest folk theater in Prague. (…) Because I am also a parish priest, at the time in the role of principal, I am not just waiting for Godot and subsidies from the state, but I learned to count on miracles, which are an integral part of my profession. I know that eventually everything will turn out well, and if it doesn’t, it’s not over yet,” said David Frýdl.