I love the theater, but I don’t love the idea that going to the theater has to cost a lot of money. This post is the first in mt Cheap Theater Series. Here I give you creative ideas on how to see theater, and other live performances at a low cost. This first post is about how to volunteer to see free shows.
Theater in Edmonton
I’m from Edmonton, Canada. It’s city that is often overlooked. That’s too bad because there’s more to Edmonton than meets the eye. Like the fact the local theater scene here is pretty fantastic. The biggest theater event in the city is The Edmonton International Fringe Festival. It occurs every August, and it’s the second largest Fringe Festival in the world.
Being a Volunteer at The Edmonton International Fringe
Every year I can I go to the Fringe and I’ll see a few shows. I had wanted to volunteer at The Fringe for a long time, and I got to do that last year. During The Fringe, I worked at the box office selling tickets. The Fringe has their volunteer program organized quite well. Shifts were between 4 and 6 hours long. Volunteers were only required to work three or four shifts during the 10-day festival. The Fringe provided volunteers with food, and nonalcoholic drinks during their shifts. There was always someone around to help new volunteers and answer questions.
Free Shows at The Fringe
The Cost of Volunteering
If you haven’t already guessed, I was all about using my Fringe bucks to see free shows. I worked seven shifts at The Frinfe, giving me $140 in Fringe bucks. This includes the Fringe bucks I got for attending a mandatory training session. I saw 15 different shows using my Fringe bucks and comp tickets. I only paid $2.50 for one show, as I didn’t have enough Fringe bucks to cover the full price of the ticket.
Regular Fringe Tickets
Regular tickets for shows at The Edmonton International Fringe Festival are reasonable. Most range between $6 and $15. Aside from a $2.50/ticket fee (to cover the cost of putting on the festival) the rest of the ticket proceeds go to the artists. I love supporting the performing arts. Without volunteering I likely would have seen a few shows, but not as many as I had volunteering.
If you’re traveling to see a show or go to an event like The Fringe volunteering may or may not work for you. Make sure to get in contact with someone to see volunteer positions are available. Here are some things you’ll want find out before signing up to volunteer for any show or event.
- What kind of work will you be doing?
- How much time per day/week will you have to commit to volunteering? You need to decide if the amount of time you’ll be spending as a volunteer will be worth it. Particularly if you only have limited time in a destination.
What conditions will you be volunteering in? Will you be inside or outside?
- Will you be working with other people? Will there be someone on site to help you out?
- What are the breaks like? How many breaks do you get per shift? How long is each break?
- Are food and drinks provided? Do you have to bring your own food and drinks?
- Is there anything else you need to bring during your shifts? For example volunteers at The Fringe needed to have their volunteer pass on them at all times. This also included when buying tickets with Fringe bucks.
- What are the perks for volunteering? If want to see a free show for volunteering then you should make sure that this is possible before you sign up.
Contact the organisation in advance to make sure volunteer positions are available. A good idea is to check a couple of months before (better too early than too late).
If you are looking for a hotel at your volunteer destination consider booking one here.
Have you volunteered to see a free show?