Skip to main content


Volume 481: debated on Monday 20 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make it his policy to include tickets for circuses in his Department's proposed Free Ticket Scheme; and if he will make a statement. (226824)

Government funding for the free theatre initiative is open to all theatres offering live arts performances, with priority being given to publicly subsidized venues. If a participating theatre offers a circus-type production, this could be included in the offer.

Arts Council England has been allocated an additional £2.5 million to run the programme on behalf of the Department and has invited venues to submit proposals for inclusion in the programme by 14 November. The initiative will be launched in February 2009 with a week of theatre-based activities and free tickets will be available up to the end of March 2011.

Our aim is to encourage young people up to the age of 26 to enjoy a free theatre performance and in so doing help build the audiences of the future. This initiative complements our policies on free museums and, more recently, free swimming.