For Just the Cost of a Ticket…

Live theatrical productions are as essential to a community as food is to the individual. Our souls are nourished, our intellects challenged, and our humors tickled. Nowhere else in modern society do we receive the benefits that are provided by theatre. Yet theatre faces the same challenges that confront the rest of society. One of the most egregious of these is funding. As a part of the theatre community, Footlights is committed to helping meet this challenge. How do we do that?

The most effective way we know is to speak for the theatres. Now before you stop reading, bear with us, there is a point that only you, the theatre patron, can effectively address. Plain and simply said, theatre needs money. In today’s world, the endowments and grants that were once the lifeblood of the arts are all but gone. And though some speak of the rainbow soon to come, only we, those that go to theatre, can effectively take action now.

This is not a request for you to write a check. It is a plea for you, the audience, to acknowledge the value you receive. Understand that everyone involved in bringing you this production you are about to see does it for the love of the art. Without exception, nobody involved in this production is going to be able to pay the mortgage, let alone think of retiring, based upon his or her efforts here. They commit their hours and lives because they must. They must for all the reasons we so often speak – passion, insight into the human experience, vision, and because they hope to share that commitment with you.

What do they ask in response? They ask for your attention, your attendance and the price of a ticket. You are here, so one third is met, we hope you will stay, thus fulfilling the second, but putting it bluntly, did you pay for the ticket? If you did, how much did you pay? Don’t take offence; the intent is not to belittle you, but to ask for your thoughtful commitment.

Be a responsible ticket buyer. Today as a society, we buy socially; we use respectfully, and dispose of responsibly. Do the same with theatre tickets. There are many agencies that clamor for your entertainment dollar. They promise you a discount on your theatre seats and then pile on service charges. In effect, this discounts the effort of the people that strive to bring you sustenance, and rewards those that leach off of their efforts. Some of these agencies muscle the theatres to provide more tickets, effectively diminishing the income potential. The service fees they charge are usurious and entirely disproportionate to the cost of tickets.

First and foremost, see more theatre. It’s good for you. Second, buy your ticket from the theatre and pay what they ask. And third, if your choice is to buy a discount ticket or not go, than by all means buy the discounted ticket, but do so from a service that helps theatre. If the agency charging you fees, does anything less give a significant part back to the community, find another option. There are many. Daily, theatre makes a commitment to the community. Be a part of the community and make a commitment to theatre.

About Peter Finlayson

Peter Finlayson is the Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-chief of FootLights magazine and While working on a prelaw program at the University of Michigan, he happily got involved with the theatre program. Much to his mother’s chagrin, law school never happened, but in a career spanning more than 4 decades, Peter has performed, directed or designed more than 150 productions. In his spare time, he is working on a new play. You can follow him on Twitter @Thtrdog .

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