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Paying it forward - Fortune Theatre

Paying it forward

The Fortune Theatre is looking forward to seeing the uptake for a new ticketing initiative designed to open its doors to those who may not usually be able to afford to see a show.

The concepts of Pay What You Can and Pay It Forward are not new and have been shown to be successful both in New Zealand and overseas.

For the balance of the 2018 Fortune Season, starting with An Iliad opening on 7th April, the second Wednesday of each run will be held off sale until opening night. When it becomes available, the Pay What You Can pricing structure will invite people to pay what they can afford. The price options start at $3 and range up to $100.

Fortune Theatre Director Jonathon Hendry says, “The idea is to make it possible for anyone to come and see our shows. We’ve been listening to what people say about coming to the theatre and there is a perception that performing arts are an expensive luxury – for many people in our community, that’s actually a reality.

“All kinds of research, both formal and anecdotal, demonstrate the positive effects exposure to arts and culture has on people’s wellbeing. We believe that we have a community responsibility to give as many people as we can access to local performing arts.”

The Court Theatre in Christchurch implemented the Pay What You Can option last year, and their early data suggests that it has a positive effect for people who are struggling financially. For example, one person was quoted as saying “I’m on a benefit – I used to come to the theatre but I can’t now. This really helps.”

Pay It Forward is at the other end of the spectrum, inviting people who are purchasing a ticket to pay for another one to be donated to a local community organisation or group. Mr Hendry explains, “There are many people in Dunedin who have a strong desire to be philanthropic but perhaps don’t want to become involved in formal sponsorships or programmes. A Pay It Forward ticket purchase allows for an ‘in the moment’ donation that will create an opportunity for another person to experience the arts who may not otherwise be able to.”

The Fortune Theatre is also inviting schools, organisations and community groups that have relationships with people on low incomes to contact them to be added to the donee list.

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