While I don't get to do it very often I do enjoy going to concerts or the theatre. The one thing that always annoys me though is the price of the programme.
With most shows a programme helps, even if only to give you a little background on the production or performers. In my experience you currently will get little if any change from £10 for a theatre programme, and can often end up spending a lot more. While I can understand that the nice glossy programmes may be expensive to print I refuse to believe that they cost anywhere near as much to produce as they sell for. So I was pleasantly surprised last Friday night when I went to buy a programme and was only charged £1.50.
Whilst I can appreciate classical music I very rarely choose to listen to it, however, when one of my work colleagues made the suggestion that we should all go to listen to the English Chamber Orchestra I agreed. So Friday night saw 20 of us at Sheffield City Hall listening to the ECO play Mendelssohn's String Symphony No. 9 in C, 'Swiss', Bartók's Divertimento, and Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, with Sarah Chang as the violin soloist on The Four Seasons.
How do I know what was being played? The very informative programme told me. For each of the three pieces of music it had at least two pages of text detailing the background of both the composer and piece, and suggestions of good recordings in case you wanted to repeat the experience in your own home. In addition there was also interesting information on the orchestra, director, and soloist and all for only £1.50!
I think a good many productions should take a hint from the ECO and produce interesting programmes that don't cost almost as much as the ticket price!