CULTURE

An end to ‘last-minute’ tickets for local audiences?

When the first advertisements for «Mamma Mia» appeared on billboards, almost a year before the blockbusting musical’s Athenian performances, many locals were baffled. Today, six months before May of next year when the performances are scheduled to take place, Panayiotis Giorgas says that 9,000 tickets had been sold by the end of November for the popular West End musical. Not only did 9,000 Greeks decide they wanted to see the production, but rushed to make their presence felt by buying tickets months in advance. Essentially, they did something fellow Greeks would have thought unimaginable in 2000 or 2002. Could it be that the theory of Greeks doing everything at the last minute is falling apart? Let’s not rush to conclusions. Let’s just say that the organization of daily life is beginning to be surpassed by reality. «What’s the point of going downtown, most probably to stand in a queue and wait, when you can now take care of everything from your own place?» asks Giorgas of Ticketnet, a leading local ticket-selling agency. «In the last two years alone, we have seen a major change in the way Greeks buy their tickets,» says Giorgas. In 2005, only half of tickets were sold in advance. Today the figure has reached 95 percent. «Two years ago, 95 percent of transactions were made in cash, today the scene is completely different: Cash accounts for 30 percent, giving way to credit cards, which are now taking over with 70 percent. Of this 70 percent, 45 percent correspond to orders placed by phone and 25 percent via the Internet. «Indeed, Internet transactions are increasing rapidly,» notes Giorgas, adding that this «points to a rising number of purchases being made online in this country – guilt-free.» Here’s a look at the ticket sales for upcoming events for the festive season. At the Athens Concert Hall, for instance, the season’s core Christmas productions – a children’s musical created by Thanos Mikroutsikos and the China National Acrobatic Troupe – are reaching sold-out point. Due to high demand, five performances of the Greek musical have been added to the initial schedule, while similar efforts are being made for the spectacular Chinese show. «Peter Pan,» taking place at the massive ice-skating rink at the Palaio Faliron indoor stadium, was also very popular even before performances started, with two extra performances having to be added to the initial dates. For those looking for seats on popular days, like this Sunday for instance, things are rather tight. Meanwhile, there are only a few 60-euro tickets left for Woody Allen’s appearances at the Badminton Theater at the end of the month, with half of the more expensive ones already gone.