As part of a strategy designed to cultivate an audience that is as diverse as the demographics of Calgary, Downstage is introducing a new ticketing model called Pay-It-Forward in which we’re making 25 per cent of all tickets available at no cost to anyone who wants them. Coupled with a series of deliberate invitations to a number of key community partners, we’re about to test this model during the run of our world premiere production of Benefit by Matthew MacKenzie. In this article, we discuss what’s brought us to this point, exploring the evolution of Downstage from a theatre company interested in socially engaged work to one focused on facilitating critical conversations among audience members on a nightly basis. We also examine the various barriers to accessing theatre faced by many Calgarians and focus in on the multiple ways that cost can act as a barrier to attendance. We explain the Pay-It-Forward Program as we’ve designed it and where we draw our inspiration from and outline our hopes as we stand at the precipice about to take a leap that we hope will help transform our audiences and our company.


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pp. 16-21
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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