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.
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.
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.
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?