Audience sets price for Lincoln theatre shows

Lincoln Drill Hall Pay What You Decide EMN-190121-234802001
Lincoln Drill Hall Pay What You Decide EMN-190121-234802001

This spring, Lincoln Drill Hall is once again allowing audiences to pay whatever they like to see plays and performances.

Pay What You Decide is a bold new pricing experiment that enables audiences to book a performance for free and decide how much the performance was worth and provide a donation when they leave.

Lincoln Drill Hall first introduced the scheme for its autumn programme last year and it proved so popular it is returning this spring, with even more performances included.

As a charity-owned arts centre, Lincoln Drill Hall depends on donations to operate and, following reductions in public funding, the charity is under more pressure than ever before.

While it might be a gamble for the venue to allow people to choose how much they pay for certain performances, the experiment proved to be a great success last autumn, attracting a number of full capacity audiences and generous box-office takings, which are split between the venue and the performers, who receive a guaranteed sum.

Better still, because the amount people pay at the end of the show counts as a donation to Lincoln Drill Hall, the charity-run venue is able to secure match-funding through the Arts Council’s Catalyst Evolve scheme.

Lincoln Drill Hall’s CEO, Chris Kirkwood said: “Pay What You Decide encourages the people of Lincolnshire to reach out and explore new arts performances that might be outside of their ordinary comfort zone.

“It takes away some of the uncertainty about whether a certain show is something you’d really enjoy and it helps to support new talent and innovative, challenging performances.

“This year, we face an enormous fundraising challenge and we need to raise a lot of money to make sure we can keep delivering all the important services we offer.”

Chris continued: “We were unsure before we launched our first Pay What You Decide season about how it would be received, but it proved to be extremely popular with audiences last autumn so we’re really 
excited to be bringing it 
back with an even bigger and better programme this spring.”

The Spring Pay What You Decide season includes eight performances between February and May.

The programme includes a raucous ‘political party’, a dark comedy fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe, a chilling adaptation of Franz Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ and the story of the couple who kept Mary Queen of Scots imprisoned in their home for 15 years.

Last autumn, Pay What You Decide enabled challenging arts performances to reach 80 per cent capacity audiences on average, with people typically choosing to donate £5 each at every performance, raising more per performance than would be expected under normal ticketing structures.

The start of the new season will be celebrated with ‘Political Party’ on Friday, February 8.

In this show about how we should be doing politics rather than talking about it, Luca Rutherford aims to bring the party out of politics in an interactive show full 
of music, dancing… and 

Then, on February 16, ‘We Are What We Overcome’ will explore mental health with dark humour and extreme honesty.

Full details on all the spring performances can be found at