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Take a Chance with “Pay What You Will”

At the Fredericton Playhouse, we’re always exploring new ways to make the performing arts more accessible to a wider audience, and to encourage patrons to take a chance on new and exciting work. With those two objectives in mind, last season we piloted a new ticket pricing idea called Pay What You Will.

Last year, we offered Pay What You Will pricing on two performances – a Kidstage Series show called Chris McKhool’s Fiddlefire, and the Spotlight Series performance 6 Guitars. Both were a big success, with nearly 1,000 patrons attending the two shows.

Knowing that the community will respond to a pricing method that’s a bit outside the box, we’ve decided to continue with Pay What You Will in our current season, and will once again offer it on two shows – a Kidstage performance called Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey on Sunday, Feb. 26, and an encore Spotlight Series performance of the play Jake’s Gift on Tuesday, April 11.

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Julia Mackey in Jake’s Gift

The process of attending a Pay What You Will performance is similar to seeing any show at the Playhouse. Patrons still need to contact the box office in advance to book their seats. This type of ticket cannot be booked online, but orders can be placed either by phone, or in person at the box office. Audience members also have the option of visiting the box office in person on the day of the show for seats, subject to availability.

Upon arrival at the theatre, ushers provide patrons with an empty envelope. Once the show is over, everyone is asked to anonymously pay whatever amount they wish based on their individual experience, using cash, credit card or cheque. It is not an appeal for a donation. The voluntary payment that audience members make is truly their self-determined price of admission.

Ultimately, we are asking our audience to determine the price of their tickets. We believe strongly in the quality of artists we bring to the Playhouse as part of our Spotlight and Kidstage Series; we’re asking our patrons to take a chance on a show that might not be familiar to them, and to pay the ticket price they feel fairly reflects the performance they have just watched without extending beyond their own budget.

One of the goals of Pay What You Will pricing is to reduce barriers that may prevent individuals and families from attending shows. This is an objective we try to tackle through a number of programs and initiatives such as Arts are for Everyone, TD Student Rush and Under 19 pricing. Pay What You Will is yet another way for us to encourage broad participation in the performing arts.

We believe the arts should be an integral part of our lives, and that the Playhouse should be accessible to everyone in the community. We’re hopeful that initiatives like Pay What You Will can play a role in reducing financial barriers, and make it possible for more people in our community to experience the magic of the performing arts.

The second goal of this ticket pricing concept is to encourage our patrons to take a chance on a performance they may not have previously been familiar with. We’d like to think we’re mitigating some of the risk of seeing an unknown performance by allowing audience members to determine their ticket price once the artist has the chance to perform and win audiences over.

I believe patrons will greatly enjoy both of our Pay What You Will selections this season. Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey is performed by Louisiana-based Lightwire Theater, a group known for their unique electroluminescent artistry, poignant storytelling and imagery-evoking music scores. This family-friendly show tells the story of a mouse who longs to fit in, and ends up taking a cosmic adventure while learning the importance of celebrating our differences.

Jake’s Gift is a poignant performance written and performed by Julia Mackey, which has been performed all across Canada and overseas. It’s a powerful, award-winning play about a Second World War veteran who returns to Normandy to commemorate the D-Day landings, and meets a young girl who challenges him to confront his past. This is a touching and important story about the legacy of remembrance.

I hope you’ll join us this season at one – or both – of our Pay What You Will performances, and take a chance on attending a performance for which you might not otherwise have purchased tickets.

Tim Yerxa is the Executive Director of the Fredericton Playhouse.

 

 

Moon Mouse takes families on a cosmic adventure that celebrates differences

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On Sunday, February 26 at 2 p.m., the Fredericton Playhouse Kidstage Series presents Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey, by acclaimed children’s company Lightwire Theater.

Lightwire Theater is known for their unique electroluminescent artistry, poignant storytelling and imagery-evoking music scores. The Louisiana-based company was featured in America’s Got Talent in 2012, and has gone on to tour internationally, sharing their unique brand of storytelling with audiences of all ages, cultures and backgrounds.

Moon Mouse tells the story of Marvin, a mouse who longs to be a hero, but is constantly picked on by the “cool” rats. Join Marvin on the space adventure of a lifetime as he meets a cast of misfit characters on the surface of the moon, in a cosmic journey that’s all about celebrating differences.

Moon Mouse is a Pay What You Will show, a pricing idea introduced last season, offered on select Playhouse performances. This initiative was introduced with a goal of increasing access to Playhouse programs, and encouraging patrons to take a chance on new and exciting performances. For more information about how Pay What You Will works, please click here.

Tickets for Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey are available by calling the Fredericton Playhouse box office at 458-8344.

Pay What You Will returns for the 2016-17 season

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Last season, the Fredericton Playhouse introduced a new ticket pricing idea called Pay What You Will, offered on select performances. Following the success of last year, we will once again offer this initiative on two shows in the 2016-2017 season. The first is Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey, a Kidstage Series performance coming up on Sunday, February 26 at 2 p.m. The second is the Spotlight Series show Jake’s Gift, on Tuesday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m.

So, how does Pay What You Will work? You still need a ticket for these shows – you can book your seats in advance by calling our box office at 458-8344 or visiting us at 686 Queen Street. If you don’t book in advance, you’ll also have the option of visiting the box office in person on the day of the show to reserve your seats.

When you attend the performance, we’ll provide you with an envelope, and will ask you to pay whatever amount you wish (based on your own individual experience) following the show, using cash, credit card or cheque. Ultimately, YOU decide the price of your tickets!

We decided to introduce Pay What You Will for two reasons: to increase access to Playhouse programs by reducing potential barriers, and to encourage our patrons to take a chance on new and exciting performances.

For more information about Pay What You Will, please contact our box office at 458-8344.

Internationally acclaimed Ballet BC returns with powerful, transformative performance

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On Friday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m., celebrated dance company Ballet BC will make its triumphant return to the Fredericton Playhouse.

Led by Artistic Director Emily Molnar, Ballet BC is known for its bold and innovative style. The company’s distinctive approach has helped it make a unique and valuable contribution to the development of dance in Canada.

Following a stunning performance at the Playhouse in 2015, this internationally acclaimed collaborative and interactive contemporary company is back with three pieces from three renowned choreographers. This latest program promises to be powerful, thought-provoking and transformative.

16+ a room. 16+ a room is inspired by the writings of Jeannette Winterson, Virginia Woolf and Emily Dickinson, as well as the musical force of German composer Dirk Haubrich. Developed by Ballet BC’s own Emily Molnar, it is a study about time, transition and stillness; where the beginning and ending of an event intersects and the space between is as important as the space occupied.

Solo Echo. Created by Crystal Pite, Solo Echo describes the balancing point between the exuberant and sometimes reckless states of our ambition and fortitude in the prime of life, and the opposing force of a more collective spirit that begins to take shape in the reflection of our existence and surroundings in later years.

Bill. Bill combines dance, music and design into an instantly recognizable whole of raw, unexpected beauty created with equal parts ebb and flow. Choreographed by Sharon Eyal, the piece features a small ensemble, which in turn morphs into a series of breathtaking solos.

In addition to this performance, the Playhouse is pleased to present two Experience More! activities. Ticketholders are invited to a free post-performance Conversation with Emily Molnar, facilitated by Playhouse Executive Director Tim Yerxa. There will also be a Ballet Masterclass led by members of Ballet BC at the Playhouse on Thursday, February 23 at 7 p.m. for experienced dancers ages 13 to 16. Pre-registration is required through the box office.

Tickets for Ballet BC are available through the Fredericton Playhouse box office by calling 458-8344 or online at www.theplayhouse.ca.

Valentine’s Day gift ideas from the Playhouse

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! This year, think outside the box and surprise your special someone with something other than chocolate and flowers. Give them a night they’ll cherish for years to come with tickets to a Fredericton Playhouse performance! Check out our suggestions below, and visit www.theplayhouse.ca or contact our box office at 458-8344 for more information on upcoming shows.

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Ballet BC – February 24. Celebrate Valentine’s Day a few days late with a powerful, passionate performance from Playhouse favourite Ballet BC. Treat your Valentine to an evening featuring three pieces from three celebrated choreographers, by a dance company known for its bold and innovative style.

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The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry – March 17. If you have a sweetheart who swoons for classic rock OR bluegrass music, you’ll want to consider tickets for this unique show. Forty-five years after its original release, the Who’s classic rock opera Tommy has been reimagined as a full-length bluegrass tribute by the HillBenders. Your date will fall in love with this new and exciting version of a classic!

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Immortal Chi – April 6. Immortal Chi is full of spectacle, and is sure to wow your Valentine with adrenaline-packed stunts, traditional weaponry, innovative video projections and stunning costumes! This fusion of Chinese martial arts and jaw-dropping acrobatics is accompanied by an all female percussion ensemble, and is a true feast for the senses.

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Stephen Fearing – April 8. Enjoy a romantic night out with the music of Juno-winning folk singer-songwriter Stephen Fearing. This musician is known for mixing powerful lyrics, creative arrangements and brilliant guitar playing. You and your special someone will be captivated by his arresting voice and his ability to turn a phrase with ease.

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Swingin’ with Oscar – May 13. Your jazzy Valentine will appreciate this tribute by the Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble to the legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. Your date will be captivated by acclaimed jazz saxophonist Bolduc’s dazzling virtuosity and stunning maturity – a must-see performance!

ECMA Songwriters Tour features some of the East Coast’s hottest up-and-coming artists

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Coming to the Fredericton Playhouse on Thursday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m., the ECMA Songwriters Tour features five of Atlantic Canada’s hottest up-and-coming songwriters.

Presented in the Playhouse’s intimate backstage studio space, audiences will be treated to performances by New Brunswick’s Mike Biggar, Jordan Musycysn of Cape Breton, Newfoundland’s Jon Pike, Nova Scotia’s Ian Sherwood, and Andrew Waite from Prince Edward Island. These artists were selected by members of the Atlantic Presenters Association after seeing them perform during the 2016 East Coast Music Awards in Sydney, N.S.

Known for intense, roiling live performances, signature soaring vocals and warm, disarming on-stage humour, soulful roots artist Mike Biggar is a definitive natural live performer who has earned affection from listeners and accolades from the industry, including an ECMA win in 2012.

A masterful storyteller, Jordan Musycysn writes stories about life and love with humour and pathos, moving listeners from laughter to tears and back again on his Music Nova Scotia-nominated debut album The Pitch.

Jon Pike is one half of alt-pop duo Everglow, known for a polished radio-ready sound accompanied by a thrilling live performance. The band has quickly risen in popularity since debuting three years ago, earning an ECMA for Fan’s Choice Video of the Year in 2016.

Musician, storyteller and creator Ian Sherwood creates songs full of instantly appealing hooks and singable choruses, incorporating his signature style of imaginative, narrative writing. This Canadian Folk Music Award-winning artist is known for his unique musicianship combined with tales of heartbreak, victory and adventure.

Best known for his rock-roots band Andrew Waite & the Firm, Waite’s songwriting is honest, rugged and evocative. Under his lead, the band became a regional finalist in CBC’s annual Searchlight competition and won the 2016 Music PEI Rock Recording of the Year.

Tickets for the ECMA Songwriters Tour are available through the Fredericton Playhouse box office by calling 458-8344 or online at www.theplayhouse.ca.

 

Le Patin Libre combines urban street dance with artistic expression on the ice

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On Sunday, February 12 at 2 p.m. during Fredericton Frostival, the Fredericton Playhouse Spotlight Series will present Le Patin Libre performing Vertical Influences at Willie O’Ree Place.

Montreal-based company Le Patin Libre describes their performances as “contemporary dance on ice.” Formed by former high-level figure skaters in 2005, the group has transformed their athleticism into a means of free expression. The five-member troupe is reinventing ice skating by bringing urban street dance and high-level artistic expression onto the ice, with a mix of movement, wit, speed and grace.

In their two-part piece Vertical Influences, Le Patin Libre explores human interrelations between individuals and the groups they are part of. They touch on leadership, bullying, individualism and rivalry, all while evolving toward a new harmony. The performance challenges audiences with an almost vertiginous rhythmic and choreographic essay.

In addition to this performance, the Playhouse is pleased to present a free Experience More! Public Skate with Le Patin Libre on Saturday, February 11 at 1 p.m. in Officers’ Square. During this event, members of Le Patin Libre will perform an excerpt from Vertical Influences, and will also lead skaters in a series of participative activities, allowing them to experience the freedom and pleasure of this new kind of ice dancing.

Tickets for Le Patin Libre are available through the Fredericton Playhouse box office by calling 458-8344 or online at www.theplayhouse.ca.