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In Barcelona: a theatre where you only pay if you laugh

Publié le 24 February 2015

Up against the rise in VAT which has hit the world of culture hard, Spanish theatre Teatreneu has found a solution: entry is free, only laughing costs money.

In Barcelona: a theatre where you only pay if you laugh

In 2012, VAT on theatre and cinema tickets in Spain increased from 8% to 21%, which saw attendances drop by a third (source: l’Express). To counter this situation, some cultural establishments have been forced to find new sources of finance. This is the case of Teatreneu, a theatre in Barcelona which specialises in improv and one-man shows.


In April 2014, as well as between July and August 2014, the theatre introduced the following innovation: entry is free and the spectators only pay if they laugh.

The cost of a first laugh is €0.30. All seats are fitted with cameras which film the spectators. They are also fitted with a facial recognition system. Each laugh is filmed and recorded. At the end of the show, using this proof, the spectators pay their bill.

Compared to the classic price system, this innovation has enabled the theatre to increase spectator numbers by 35%. The average cost of a seat has also increased by €6 (source:  Viméo). It’s a real success story in a country that has been hit hard by the economic crisis.

The Teatreneu is thinking about using this system all the time, and other Spanish theatres are considering adopting the model.

Practical information: Teatreneu, Carrer Terol, 26 08012 Barcelona

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