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Concern commission hike will impact the arts

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Concern commission hike will impact the arts

A HIKE in money taken by the council for selling tickets to concerts and plays could have an impact on the local arts.

That is the fear being expressed as £1 in every £10 taken at the Midsteeple Box Office is now kept by Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Addressing a hike in the commission from seven to ten per cent, Theatre Royal manager Mark Alexander said: “We have been consulted by the Midsteeple about a potential rise in costs, and we are looking at this because it will put us under a certain amount of pressure.”

Promoter Graham MacDonald has ruled out selling any further tickets via The Midsteeple and said: “This may not sound a lot, but with overheads this amounts to a lot.”

He added: “It’s a shame that I will not be able to sell through them again as the town centre location was ideal. I have heard from others that they may pull out, too.

“The question is, will The Midsteeple survive or will it be another nail in the town centre demise?”

Rab Smith, of Domino Entertainments, shares the concerns.

He said: “I told them ages ago when they first started selling tickets that they should charge a booking fee.”

Mr Smith argues council charges should come on top of the ticket price, rather than as a share.

However, Mr Alexander said: “One way or another, any box office cost will have to come out of both the promoter and the venue, because sometimes the venue ends up swallowing all of the charge.”

A council spokesman said: “The increase in commission charged for sale of tickets on behalf of external organisations and events was increased as part of a review of fees and charges across the council.
“It is aimed to reduce the deficit on providing the service, and was agreed as part of the wider council budget.”

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