It was at the opening night celebration of one of the Wharf Revues that a chap approached me, told me he was an actor – I was unfamiliar with his body of work – and said: “That was quite good.” He paused, waiting for me to thank him for his valued opinion, then added: “First one I’ve seen.”

“Really?” I said. “We’ve been going for nearly 20 years.”

“Yeah. First time I was offered a free ticket.”

Jonathan Biggins

He turned away and as he set about consuming half his body weight at the complimentary buffet, I willed him to choke on an arancini. What is it about the performingarts that we so willingly give away our work – let alone our buffets – for nothing? What other industry offers freebies on such an industrial scale? It’s supposed to be a profession, not a hobby. If you tell any of your colleaguesyou’re doing a show their first question is “Any free tickets?” I can’t get a plumber to fix my toilet for nothing simply because...