Kitchener-Waterloo

Lost and Found Theatre hopes to turn profit with free tickets

Waterloo Region's Lost and Found Theatre hopes that by giving away free tickets to its latest production, it can expand its audience base while at the same giving the community a broader exposure to the arts.
Lost and Found Theatre is offering free tickets to three shows of its latest production Boiler Room Suite, starring Kathleen Sheehy and George Joyce. (Contributed by: Tom Vogel/Lost and Found Theatre)

Waterloo Region's Lost and Found Theatre hopes that by giving away free tickets to its latest production, it can expand its audience base while at the same giving the community a broader exposure to the arts. 

Boiler Room Suite opens Nov. 5, and if patrons arrive early enough to three select shows during the run, they can see the production at no cost, says producer and theatre manager Christy Ziss.

"People just need to show up 45 minutes before the show, when our box office opens and it's first come, first served."

She explains a limited number of seats will be for sale online, if theatre-goers want to guarantee their seat for those three shows.

"The idea is to make theatre accessible to everyone, regardless of their economic status. And we're not just talking about people who consistently live in a world where they feel the arts are unaffordable to them, we're also talking about people who at any given might be going through a tough time financially and so are making a choice to not come see a show," explains Ziss. 

"Having a hard time right now? Come and see the show on us. Later, if things are going better for you, pay it forward -- make a donation, or buy a ticket for a friend," she says.

She calls the program "Radical Hospitality" and hopes it will build loyalty among an untapped fan base. 

"We have a very strong, fiercely loyal following," says Ziss. "But it's not enough to sustain us as a company."

The idea was inspired by Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis. Ziss says while it's been successful there, trying it in Waterloo Region is a risk. 

"This is huge, this is a leap of faith for us that we somehow trust that at some point it's going to work," said Ziss. 
"We're excited, but we're also kind of terrified."

Free tickets through the Radical Hospitality program will be available for the following productions of Boiler Room Suite. 

  • Wednesday Nov. 5, at 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday Nov. 8, at 2: p.m. 
  • Tuesday Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. 

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