Social Justice

A Stirling cinema is asking customers to only pay what they can afford

The Macrobert Arts Centre is tackling rising ticket costs and inaccessibility with a three-tier pricing model

cinema

More people can look forward to an affordable night at the cinema thanks to the Macrobert Arts Centre at the University of Stirling, which will introduce a pay-what-you-can pricing structure in March.

From March 1, customers can pay £4.50, £6.50 or £8.50 depending on what they can afford. Cinema staff have reassured the public that no one will question or ask for justification of the amount customers pay. It will apply to all movies showing, every day of the week.

Pricing guidance by the centre reads: “You might pay different rates depending on how far away the next pay day is, or based on how excited you are about the film, or depending on the time of day you come.

“If you’re coming with a family you might choose to pay different rates for the adults and children. You might just pick the mid-rate and pay that each time. Whatever you choose – don’t worry. No-one’s judging.”

It is hoped that visitors who can afford it will pay the higher price to subsidise those with less disposable income, meaning more locals can see the latest films.

The payment model was successfully tested during the Central Scotland Documentary Festival last October, when the centre received “really positive feedback” about their efforts to make cinema more accessible.

At that point, customers could pay £2, £5 or £8. The majority of people (39 per cent) chose to pay the middle rate, followed by the most expensive (32 per cent), and the fewest people paid the minimum amount (29 per cent).

Julie Ellen, artistic director on site, said: “We believe that great cinema should be for everyone.

“We want people to be able to choose Macrobert Arts Centre for their cinema experience and realise that price can be an important part of that choice. At the same time, as a registered charity we rely on our audience’s loyalty to be able to offer a varied, independent film programme alongside the latest blockbusters.”

The average cinema ticket price in the UK cost £7.22 last year, though this had dropped from £7.49 in 2017 – the first price drop in 17 years. Industry experts think this is because rising ticket prices have forced swathes of the country to rely on discounts like Meerkat Movies or unlimited membership cards.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
June 2024 payment dates for DWP benefits – plus changes to universal credit
money in wallet/ dwp benefits
Benefits

June 2024 payment dates for DWP benefits – plus changes to universal credit

Energy bills are set to fall but UK families have already lost £72bn to 'staggering' prices
energy bills
Energy bills

Energy bills are set to fall but UK families have already lost £72bn to 'staggering' prices

Poverty costs the UK billions each year. Politicians must commit to ending it this general election
Trussell Trust food banks
General election 2024

Poverty costs the UK billions each year. Politicians must commit to ending it this general election

Abuse survivor tried to take her own life after years-long battle with DWP over disability benefits
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
Department for Work and Pensions

Abuse survivor tried to take her own life after years-long battle with DWP over disability benefits

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know