Cheap Theatre Series – Go to School

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This is the third post in the Cheap Theatre Series. Here I give you creative ideas on how you can see live performances at a low or even no cost. In this post I’ll share how going to school can save you money (well, on live shows that is). Below are the two previous posts in this series.
Part 1 – Volunteer to See Free Shows
Part 2 – Win The Lottery

There should be giant asterisks beside the word “cheap” for this post because one of these “cheap” methods involves spending thousands of dollars on post-secondary tuition at a school with a theatre program. If you’re okay with that, then go ahead and get a post-secondary education. Still, this post can help students and non-students, to see theatre at an affordable price.

Student ID and Student Prices

If you are a student, there is a good chance you have some form of student ID. Keep that ID with you when you travel, because a student ID could help save money. As an example, students can save money on tickets for performances at The Edmonton International Fringe Festival. If you don’t have a student ID with your school, you can apply for an International Student ID Card. It costs $20 and requires proof you are currently a full-time student.

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Theatre for Alumni

A few months ago I got an alumni email from MacEwan University (my alma mater) to attend a free performance of Carrie: The Musical. Yes, that’s the same Carrie as in the Stephen King book/horror movie. Carrie: The Musical was one of the most expensive musicals on Broadway when it debuted back in 1988. It only ran for five performances, and then it closed, costing millions of dollars. Despite being a flop, the musical has gotten somewhat of a cult following.

I was curious to see how a horror movie would translate to a stage. To my surprise, I enjoyed the show. The source material itself (the music and book from the show) wasn’t the best (I mean I can understand why it closed). The production of the musical from the MacEwan Theatre Department, however, was fantastic.

Entrance for the John L. Haar Theatre at MacEwan University. Note: this was the old west end campus building where I saw Carrie: The Musical but this campus has merged with the location in downtown Edmonton. Now performances for MacEwan shows (theatre and music) are at the downtown campus location.

Not a Student? Go to School Anyway

Are you not a student? You can still go to school to see a show. If I didn’t get free tickets to Carrie: The Musical it would have only been $20 to see. Check for schools with performing arts programs for upcoming shows. Chances are the tickets will be affordable. Plus you’ll see a show put on by people training to be professional actors, dancers, singers, and musicians.

Finally, I’m going to talk about the less professional school productions of shows. I was lucky enough to attend a High School that had a musical theatre program. I was in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in grade 11. In grade 12 I was in Fiddler on the Roof. Those musical theatre classes were some of the best times I had in High School. We weren’t Broadway-level stars, but we worked hard to put on a great show. It’s a fantastic feeling to see a crowd, even if it’s only 50 people, at your show. Buying a $10 ticket to watch some kids in Grease or Romeo and Juliet is a great way to support the arts. It also helps to encourage the next generation of performers and artists.

Things You Should Know
If you’re a student, I recommend keeping your student ID on you or getting an International Student ID Card. It comes in handy not only for shows but many companies will offer discounts if you have a valid student ID card.
Please note Take Me to the World is not advising you to choose a post-secondary education based on a school having a theatre program (unless that’s what you’re planning to study). That said if your post-secondary school has a strong theatre/arts program it’s a nice bonus for you.

Have you gone to school for a show?

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4 comments on “Cheap Theatre Series – Go to School

  1. These really are great ideas. Students are able to watch shows at a discounted rate. And, even if you aren’t a student or alumni, you can still go to the schools and watch them for cheaper than you would anywhere else. Thanks for sharing. Not many people are aware of this.

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