Get more out of live theatre performances by working behind the scenes—save on ticket purchases, too.
GIVE & GET | Calling all theatre junkies! If you can’t survive the summer without multiple doses of Bard on the Beach and TUTS: Theatre under the Stars (where you can see Titanic The Musical this summer), are biting your nails until the next batch of Fringe Festival offerings and love all the live-and-in-your-face independent theatre, well, ticket prices will add up. Volunteering is a way to see more theatre for less money and be an insider to boot.
All The World’s A Stage
Most local theatre companies depend on volunteers to make their shows happen. From production help to marketing and fundraising, “vollies” are the glue that hold theatre productions together. Front of House (FOH) positions are probably the most common volunteer area and include box office assistant, concession assistant and usher. Typically you would arrive about an hour before showtime and help with ticket sales, sell snacks and beverages or hand out programs and direct people to their seats. After the show, you might help with cleanup or more concession sales. Other opportunities exist to help out with marketing, development and administration at theatre offices.
Many theatres offer volunteers a reserved seat at the show. At larger theatres where FOH positions are union-protected, volunteers are offered free show tickets and other incentives after a certain number of hours worked. Such is the case at the Arts Club Theatre on Granville Island where volunteers can help with marketing and development, reception relief, light clerical work and special events. Volunteers who accumulate six hours or more receive vouchers towards theatre tickets.
Volunteer Perks Aplenty
Volunteer perks don’t stop at free shows. You may get exposed to shows you wouldn’t normally see or other cultural events and institutions, just by association. And how about the opportunity to hobnob with arts professionals, actors, directors and production staff? “Our volunteers get the opportunity to meet the whole organization,” says Teddy Forsyth, manager of administration at the Arts Club Theatre. “The more you work, the more people you get to know.”
Beyond the theatre environment, there are…well, parties! Pi Theatre holds its annual summer hootenanny to thank volunteers, vollies for TUTS get to frolic at a closing night company party, and other theatre companies hold similar functions to celebrate the valuable contribution volunteers make. —Belinda Bruce
Art, top to bottom: Titanic at TUTS, Bard on the Beach, Buddy: The buddy Hollly Story at the Stanley Alliance Stage (Arts Club Theatre)