Letter: Exit Sir Ian

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The Independent Culture
Sir: We should be grateful to Sir Ian McKellen for sparking a debate on the nature of theatre audiences ("Has London theatre reached the stage where it can't find a decent audience?", 24 September). Why are there so many foreign tourists among West End audiences? London is deservedly regarded as the theatre capital of the world, and visitors are keen to be a part of this. Without this income the West End theatre would be the poorer.

However, it is vital that we offer our young people the opportunity to enjoy live theatre. It is unrealistic to expect the average family to pay the average ticket price of over pounds 20. Lottery money might be better spent subsidising theatre tickets for school parties than pouring millions into opera houses for the elite.

My children have been enthralled by productions of Shakespeare, yet we are regarded by their peers as a "weird" family because we take them to the theatre. We need to make the theatre accessible and affordable for families to build up a tradition of indigenous theatre-going.

ELAINE YEO

Enfield, Middlesex

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