London Ticket Bank to give free access to cultural events: “Art is a human right”

Unsold tickets to music, theatre, comedy and dance events will be given free of charge to those on low incomes

A new cultural scheme is set to launch in London next year that offers free tickets for art exhibitions and cultural events to those on low incomes.

The London Ticket Bank is launching in January and will see unsold tickets to hundreds of events across music, theatre, comedy and dance given to those who can’t afford them.

In an interview with The Guardian about the scheme, mastermind Chris Sonnex said that around 1,000 tickets will be gifted per week once the scheme opens.


He said: “Art is a human right. And the tighter things get with people’s finances, the more they will be squeezed out of art.”

“There are brilliant people putting together food banks and heat banks, but that doesn’t give humanity its basic needs from a soul point of view,” he added.

With the scheme offering free and ‘pay what you can’ options, Sonnex said: “People who are suffering as a result of the cost of living also need access to community, entertainment and things that warm the soul. If people are going to the theatre, they’ll be warm for a couple of hours.”

Those to sign up so far include the Roundhouse, the Barbican and the National Theatre, with more venues and organisations expected to join ahead of the scheme’s launch.

Modern Wharf Terrace
CREDIT: Modern Wharf Terrace

Research conducted by the charity Help Musicians last month found that 91 per cent of musicians are no longer able to afford equipment, in what has been described as a ‘cost of working crisis’.


The research paints a grim picture of life for musicians in 2022 amid soaring energy and fuel costs, double digit inflation and the sector beginning to feel the effects of Brexit, which is adding to the cost of touring abroad.

Nearly all musicians (98 per cent), the charity found, are worried about earning enough income in the next six months, with half “extremely” or “very” concerned that their financial situation will force them to leave the industry.

Bands including Regressive Left and Porridge Radio have recently been offering discounted tickets or guestlist spots to fans who are unable to afford their gigs.

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