Thrifty Theatre

One of my  passions – other than thrift shopping – is theatre. I LOVE going to the theatre. I love musicals, comedies, Shakespeare, drama, farce. There is something magical about being transported for a couple of hours to another place and time by watching actors on stage in front of you, living out a story for you. For me, theatre is a sacred space; it is often a worship experience for me as I am engaged on a spiritual level, experiencing  joy or sorrow, wrestling with issues and questions and mystery. I love it.

i love an actor too: John Dawson! Here he is in Funnybones production of Moonlight and Magnolias

But for those on a budget theatre can be expensive. Professional theatre in Vancouver can run you upwards of $50 a ticket. One of my favourite theatres in Vancouver is Pacific Theatre – a small, professional theatre on 12th & Hemlock that puts on a full season of amazing plays at affordable prices. Here at home, I am involved with Gallery 7 Theatre; Abbotsford’s only full time, semi-professional theatre. It is a wonderful, magical place where I am transported to other worlds, enriched, encouraged, engaged. It’s amazing.

Here's John in Gallery 7's production of Beau Jest. also Dave Peters, Heather Muth, J.D. Dueckman, Sarah Hu and Ken Hildebrandt who is also the Artistic Director of Gallery 7.

So what does this have to do with being thrifty? Well, as a board member at Gallery 7 theatre, I know how much the theatre needs patrons and donors to make it happen. Good theatre doesn’t just happen out of thin air – it costs money to rent space, to hire designers, to pay for sets and props. Ticket prices can never cover all those costs – so believe me when I say Gallery 7 Theatre’s  $18 tickets (for adults, evenings) are a steal of a deal.

Yet for some, even that price is prohibitive –but there is a very easy way to see your favourite plays for FREE: volunteer! I began my involvement with Gallery 7 Theatre as an usher. I take tickets, I hand out programs, I tell people where the bathrooms are, I shine my flashlight on dark aisles if people arrive late. Easy peasy. And the best part is, I get to see the play for free!

Theatres, like thrift shops, thrive on volunteer contributions: ushers, box office ticket takers, and concessions servers are the obvious ones. At Gallery 7, I also coordinate something called “Caring for Cast and Crew” where volunteers provide a home cooked meal for the actors and crew members on a Saturday between the matinee and evening performance. You have no idea how special it is to be able to serve these folks and hear how much they appreciate it.

John in Lost in Yonkers, Gallery 7 Theatre, with Tommy Peters

Being a part of something as life-giving as theatre should be its own reward and, really, it is. So it’s a bonus that I also get to take in a performance at no cost. If you’re interested in volunteering at Gallery 7, let me know!

What’s your favourite play? Where’s your favourite theatre?

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2 Responses to Thrifty Theatre

  1. Denise says:

    I am not sure what my favourite play is…I have enjoyed so many but I do know that Gallery 7 is my favourite theatre experience… and as you so eloquently point out, pretty thrifty too!!

    • angelika says:

      some of my favourite plays – Espresso and Jesus Hopped the A Train – are plays we won’t be able to do any time soon because of their use of foul language, but they are both powerful. another of my faves is Farndale Christmas which is playing this year at Trininty Western – SO FUNNY.

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