Thursday Theatre Review: Free or Cheap Shows

Technically this is not a review but I have spoken to people who say they kind of enjoy plays, but don't have the $25 or $30 per person to pay for something they may or may not like, and I wanted to take the opportunity to let you know about ways that you can see the shows you hear about on blogTO for free, or for very little money.

In general the city is full of free performances of all descriptions. They range from buskers to huge organized events, and sometimes these performances are theatre. If you live in Toronto you live in a city that is full of opportunities to see theatre for free, or, at least for cheap.

For instance, there are free events at LuminaTO which include performances of Tough! in outdoor venues on June 2 and 9 and free performances of the SPIEGEL TENT'NTAVERN on June 2, 3, 9 and 10.

Another way to see theatre for free is to volunteer. I know, I know, it sounds like work, you don't know what you're doing, you don't have time, and so on and so on. But here's the trick that people don't know about volunteering at a theatre: it's ridiculously easy.

Here's how it works: you contact the volunteer coordinator at a theatre - sometimes there is a link for volunteering through the website, if there isn't then just pick a name that looks promising - and send them an email asking if they are looking for volunteers. Most of the theatres in Toronto will happily take volunteers.

What is involved in volunteering depends on what you're doing, but most often it means showing up at the theatre at 7:00 instead of 7:30, reserving your seat early, taking tickets at the door and wishing people a good show. Then you get to go in and enjoy the show. It's ridiculously easy, you're helping out a community arts organization AND you get to see free theatre! It's a multiple win situation.

If volunteering isn't your thing but you still can't pay full price, though you do have a bit of money to go to a show, don't worry, there are options there too...

Most shows have PWYC (Pay What You Can) days. Most often they're on Sunday, although at Canstage it's on Monday. If it's not clear when the day is just call the box office and ask. There is usually a suggested minimum donation, but if you really can't afford that you can get away with less. Just remember, though, that the people putting on this show need to buy groceries too...

There are plenty of opportunities to go see theatre in Toronto, even if you are on a budget. We're ridiculously lucky to have the thriving arts community and plethora of choices we do in this city, so I encourage you go to out and take advantage of them.

Photo by: TorontoStreet

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