Where will you go: The Savoy or New Theatre? Eve and Sangeeta battle it out…
Price, of course, contributes greatly to a cinema’s popularity with students: cinema tickets are much cheaper than theatre tickets, with more student offers, as well as the glorious 2-for-1 Orange Wednesdays deal. At the Savoy Cinema, 44% of ticket admissions in the last year have been student tickets, a significant proportion of sales considering that students aren’t even in Lenton for 5 months of the year. Whilst I don’t deny that you can get cheap theatre tickets, you have to know where to find them first!
Cinema is so much more accessible than theatre: films are screened nationally, in various cinemas, and with multiple showings per day, it’s easy to fit into a hectic lifestyle. Cinema is shared internationally and discussed through all media forms – radio, TV, social networking sites. Whilst theatre is constricted to a specific temporal and local situation, film has the power to reach communities worldwide, to impact upon many different people, making it more exciting for students. In an age where global networking is at the foreground, it is no surprise that we have a passion for global-reaching art forms.
Movies are a product of the fast-moving technological advancement of the last century; there is a lot more scope for developing this art-form, indeed we’ve already seen 3D technology pervade the household. CISCO, a leading company in networking, has forecast that 90% of Consumer IP Traffic in 2013 will be video, showing just how fixated the world is becoming with video and film today.
Cinema also provides a sense of escapism which cannot be achieved through theatre, which is a great feeling when students just want a two hour break from seminar prep, or even THAT housemate! With film, it’s easy to lose yourself in the action of the large screens, be whisked away to a foreign land, or fall in love. There’s something far more magical about the experience of cinema.
Some of the most thrilling, thought-provoking and epic stories have been told through film. And films live on, long after you’ve seen them in cinemas, preserved on DVD forever more, unchanging; a little relic of that perfect moment when you first saw the movie that changed your life.
The Nottingham New Theatre
Price may seem an easy goal for cinema to score but a closer examination suggests otherwise. Student tickets at the Nottingham New Theatre are £4 (£2 for freshers on Saturday matinee) equal to that of the Savoy and lower than Cineworld at £5.49 (with 10% off!). Even in the West End, I’ve seen Catherine Tate at the National for £5. If student tickets for the Savoy only amount to less than half of their audiences (44%), then students are not outstandingly obsessed with spending money at the movies.
From a worldwide perspective, theatre is much more widely spread across all nations, blind to poverty, wealth or technology, from Africa to America. Cinema is not everywhere; it is a modern phenomenon for an elite set of nations. Theatre is universal.
Closer to home, with the New Theatre and the Lakeside Arts Centre on campus, going to the theatre is less hectic than catching the bus into town to the cinema for a Nottingham student, especially those living in halls. Our theatres win on geographical accessibility.
The performance itself may be fleeting, but evidence suggests that the fever of theatre popularity far outweighs the success of Hollywood’s movies. The Mousetrap has been running for 61 years; The Woman In Black – 26 years. Not even The Lord Of The Rings could keep a movie in the cinema this long. Within the world of University societies, the Nottingham New Theatre has an average audience of 207 per show and their popularity lets them produce two plays per week.
The charm of theatre is its truth, fragility and individuality – no performance can ever be repeated. Being part of an ideal theatrical experience is completely and emotionally immersive. The actor is a site of living, breathing humanity which the faded shadows of pixelated faces on screen, in magicless artifice, will never achieve.
Eve Wersocki Morris