Friday Five: Ways to get cheaper theatre tickets

cheapTicketsOne of the reason I love books and reading (see last post) is because you can do it for free. All you need is a library card and away you go! (Note to authors and publishers: don’t panic, I have a healthy book-buying addiction as well as a library card.) I’m going through a bit of cash-flow crisis at the moment (I’m broke) so I have seen very little theatre lately, which is probably another reason why I’m writing about books. Theatre are be an expensive habit but are a few ways to save some money on your theatre tickets.

  1. Early Bird Offers. Theatres love early bookings because it lets them know the theatre won’t be empty, and they can relax a little bit. They want you to book early so they offer discounts. Project Arts Centre offer 25% off the ticket prices for most shows, if you book two or three weeks in advance. At the moment, the Dublin Dance Festival are offering early bird discounts for all their shows until March 29th. They are also doing Dance Deals where you get money off if you book 3 or more shows at the same time.

  3. Previews and matinees are often a bit cheaper than other shows in the run. Sometimes different days can be cheaper than others. Tickets for Romeo and Juliet at the Gate are €20 for previews, €25 for a Monday night mid-way through the run and €35 on a Friday night. It’s worth being flexible about when you go to see a show.

  5. Be a friend. A lot of friend’s schemes are prohibitively expensive but the Abbey have some reasonably priced ones. The best of the bunch is the Cameo Club which is open to under 26s and students of all ages. It’s €10 a year and you get half price previews and €10 standby tickets. If you don’t meet the criteria for that, Chorus membership is €25 and gives you half price preview tickets and priority booking.

  7. Offers on Facebook and Twitter. If you can’t afford a friends subscription, friend your favourite theatres, festivals and production companies on Facebook or follow them on Twitter instead. This is where they will often post about special offers or run competitions for free tickets. For The Walworth Farce, Landmark were offering €20 tickets for unemployed theatre go-ers, purchased on the day and for Rough Magic’s Everything Between Us, they had a limited number of €10 tickets for under 30s. If social media is not your thing, consider signing up to their mailing list.

  9. Volunteering for festivals is a way to get to see shows for free. Most festivals offer free tickets in exchange for the shifts you work and sometimes you will get into the shows you’re working on. There are loads of good reasons to volunteer but  the free tickets are definitely up there.  The Dublin Dance Festival are currently looking for volunteers. Application close on Friday, 17th April.

Volunteers Wanted

I love volunteering – even if I’ve had second thoughts, I’m always glad that I did it. Any organisation worth their salt will make you feel good about donating your time for free, but in my experience you get more than you give by experiencing new things and meeting new people. Once you’ve committed your time as a volunteer, you are more likely to turn up than you would as a regular punter. You see events that you would never have picked out of the festival programme yourself, and you see them for free! You end up being part of the community and part of the event, and it’s fun.

A few organisations currently looking for volunteers are:

Journey to the End of the Night, which is part of the Darklight Festival. I’ve written a post about this city-wide game of tag. They are mostly looking for chasers – people who are enthusiastic about spending a Saturday night running around, chasing after players and scaring them senseless, but they might also be looking for volunteers to help out at the various check-points. This is a more sedate way to get involved and enjoy the general crazyness without too much running around!
To volunteer or for more information, email

Live Collision is also happening this week, 23rd – 26 April. This is a live art festival based in and around Project Arts Centre. The line-up looks incredible, a great mix of international theatre practitioners and Irish artists – and I am gutted that I’m away this week and missing it all! All the details for volunteering are on the Theatre Forum Jobs Board.

Dublin Dance Festival are also looking for volunteers. This festival takes place between the 20th and 31st May and they are looking for volunteers to help out in lots of different areas. It’s the 10th year of the Dublin Dance Festival and they have a very exciting programme to celebrate. There is an application form on their website and the closing date for applications is Wednesday April 23. All the information is here.

Your guide to the IETM Dublin meeting

Last year, Project Arts Centre announced that they would be hosting the IETM Spring meeting. At that time, I knew next to nothing about IETM. I’ve had a bit of a crash course since then in preparation for the Dublin meeting which takes place from April 11 – 14.

IETMIETM_Dublin stands for Informal European Theatre Meeting. The group has changed it’s name to the more inclusive International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts but the original name gives you a better sense of what the whole thing is all about. Like the fact that it’s all about meeting people. IETM is not a conference. It’s a meeting. The aim of the three-day event is for delegates to meet people in the performing arts, in the hope that they will be like-minded individuals that they can form useful and long-lasting relationships with.

A couple of the events in the Dublin programme illustrate this point – on Saturday morning, Day 3 of the Conference there are two early morning events – Run! and Jump!, where attendees are invited to go for a run through Phoneix Park or a swim at Seapoint. This has nothing to do with theatre or the performing arts, but it is a good way to get to know people and a good first step to cultivating a relationship!

Making links with Europe can only be a good thing for the arts in Ireland. Our little island nation can be a bit too inward looking sometimes, or only influenced by British and American culture – people who literally speak our language. I think it’s a good thing to have outside influences coming in to add something new to the mix.

The theme of the Dublin meeting is “Trust” and all the sessions relate to that theme. Some of the ones that I really like the look of are; Are The Performing Arts Driving Us Mad? which is about the mental health of those working in the arts and the role that the arts can play in improving mental health; The Big Debate: How to trust and be trusted which takes place in different venues over the three days of the meeting; another practical one – Trust Circus To Take You Into The Unknown which involves trust games and circus skills and the opening night Reception with the wonderful Pop Ceili. These are all delegate only sessions which means you have to sign up and pay the registration fee to attend. Registration fees start at €75 but you don’t have to be a member of IETM to register for the meeting. This is the Early Bird offer which ends on March 28th. After that the fees double to €150 so if you are planning to attend, register soon! It can be a difficult, time-consuming process so don’t try and do it in a hurry!

All That Fall by Pan Pan Theatre
All That Fall by Pan Pan Theatre

And if, like me you can’t afford the registration fee, there’s still the Artistic Programme, which is open to both delegates and non-delegates. There are five performances – Pan Pan’s All That Fall, Brokentalkers Have I No Mouth, a gig curated by Dylan Tigue called Let the music do the talking and two dance pieces – John Scott Dance’s Body Duets and Fast Portraits by Liz Roche Company. There’s also live art happening in the Cube each evening, which is free and open to non-delegates. Tickets for the other pieces are €10 and available from Project. (Delegate tickets are €6 and available in person only, from April 11th.) Most of these performances are happening in Project Arts Centre, which is the Meeting Place and Hub for IETM which means you get a change to get a sense of the IETM atmosphere and maybe do a little mingling and networking without registering for the full meeting.

You can also get involved as a volunteer, if you have the time to spare. Volunteers are asked for at least 3 days commitment (8 hours a day) between 8th and 14th of April. There are more details here and applications close on Friday, March 22.

I think if you can afford to attend, this is a wonderful opportunity to meet other art practitioners from around Europe and hear what their work practices are like. It’s unlikely that a meeting will be held in Dublin again so this is the year to do it! Who knows who you might meet or what connections you could establish. And for those without tickets, I think it’s worth paying a visit to Project during those three days and seeing the whole thing in action. Again, who knows who you might bump into!

Absolut Fringe 2012: Fringe Awards

The Absolut Fringe is over for another year, and what a wonderful Fringe it was! I had another great year volunteering with the festival and saw as many shows as my budget would allow.

The Fringe Awards happened last night in Meeting House Square, which was a wonderful out-door venue this year, playing host to Briefs almost every night of the festival as well as other acts. All the winners and nominations are listed on the Fringe Facebook page and, as usual, the list includes a whole lot of shows that I didn’t get a chance to see.

I’m looking forward to catching a lot of the winners when they come back again. The Lir Revival is a new award this year and the winners are given the opportunity to restage their winning production at The Lir. This year’s winners are Talking Shop Ensemble’s Death of a Tradesman (which also won the Fishamble New Writing Award for Shaun Dunne) and WillFredd’s Farm (which I tried and failed to get tickets for). I’m looking forward to seeing both of those shows when they are staged sometime between now and the end of the academic year. I have yet to see a show at The Lir so I’m looking forward to that too. I was down there a couple of times this Fringe as a volunteer and it seems like a great venue.

Death of a Tradesman is also part of this year’s Galway Theatre Festival which starts on next Monday.

Two more shows that I heard a lot of good things about but didn’t see myself were Paperdolls’ Constellations and Emma Martin’s Dogs. These two shows are closer to dance than straight theatre and both won big awards on Sunday night. Dogs won Best Production and Best Design and Constellations won Spirit of the Fringe. Paperdolls are definitely a company to keep an eye on!

So they are all the shows I didn’t see; I will post reviews of the ones I did manage over the next couple of days. And then we’ll get ready for the Dublin Theatre Festival which starts on Thursday!

Cork’s Midsummer Festival

Unlike music festivals, theatre festivals generally don’t involve standing in the rain, fighting through the mud in your wellies or Portaloos. Last Sunday when a lot of people were cursing the weather-gods at Forbidden Fruit in Kilmainham, I spent the day indoors at the Town Hall Theatre in Galway, enjoying Druid’s cycle of Tom Murphy plays. They are finishing up in Galway today but they will be back as part of the Galway Arts Festival in July.

In the meantime, Cork Midsummer Festival is less than two weeks away and has a very exciting programme.

There’s another chance to see Fabulous Beast’s Rian on June 21 – 23. I’ve been a fan of Fabulous Beast since I first saw them at the Barbican in 2007. I saw this show in the Gaiety as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival last October. Where their previous shows The Bull and James Son of James were more story and character-based, Rian is all about music and movement. I saw it during my four days in Dublin with the MAs and it just left me feeling gloriously happy.

I missed Berlin Love Tour when it was in the Absolut Fringe a couple of years ago. It sold out before I managed to get a ticket; don’t let the same happen to you! The size of the audience is limited so it will sell out fast and it sounds like it’s a wonderful show. It does involve being outside so it may require rain gear! It is a tour of Berlin that takes place in Cork.

If you like shows in unusual locations, the Ciudades Paralelas strand of the festival are offering shows in shopping centres, a library, the court house, a train station, various hotel rooms, the roof of City Hall and outside an apartment block. All of these performances are non-traditional theatre pieces and a lot of them involve experiencing the performance through headphones.

Once again Solstice have a packed programme of events in many different disciplines, including a six brand new works that are currently being developed. They also have a long way to go on their Fund:it campaign and only 4 days left to do it. There are wonderful, unique rewards if you are afford to donate €50+.

Solstice also have opportunities for artists with the PARLEY initiative and you can volunteer for the Midsummer Festival here.

Absolut Fringe Festival 2011

The fantastic, glorious, wonderful machine that is the Absolut Fringe Festival is already gearing up for another year. It takes a whole lot of fabulous people to make those magical two weeks in September happen. (Magical is not an exaggeration – it’s still six months away and I am already looking forward it.)

If you would like to be one of those fabulous people – good news – they’re hiring!

The Fringe are currently looking for a Marketing Assistant (closing date for applications – Friday, 25 March) and a Festival Club Producer (closing date – Wednesday, 30 March). These are the paid positions.

They are also looking for Interns (scroll down, there are a few positions listed there) and names for the Willing Workers List.

For the willing workers, they are looking for “people who are interested in working in a design, backstage, production, technical or administrative capacity. Or just want to help out with whatever is needed.” You wouldn’t actually be working for the Fringe – they would pass on your details to the theatre makers and they would contact you about work. In most instances, I’d imagine they would be looking for people who are willing to work for free or as close to free as possible. It’s an opportunity to get involved with the festival and maybe add something interesting to your CV.

I’ve never done the willing workers list or been an intern with the Fringe, but as I’ve said many times before, I always enjoy volunteering with them. And I’ve seen the same staff and interns come back year after year which suggests they are decent employers!

Volunteer for the Fringe

The 2010 Absolut Fringe Festival are looking for volunteers for this years Fringe. The Fringe runs from Saturday September 11th to Sunday 26th. I can tell you from experience that it is possible to volunteer when you have a full time job, and still manage to squeeze in a few shows!

If you’re interested, the application form is here. (All the details about where to send it are in the Word document.)
Go on, you know you want to!

Would you like to dance naked on stage as part of the Fringe Festival?

A couple of weeks the Fringe Festival put out a call for women who would be like to participate in a show called ‘Trilogy’. The show is about modern-day feminism and was created by a woman called Nic Green.

From the Fringe website:
“Women of all ages, backgrounds, shapes, sizes, levels of fitness and ability are sought to perform naked in an ensemble dance celebrating the female form, as part of Nic Green’s extraordinary, multi award winning show Trilogy during this year’s ABSOLUT Fringe.

A show in three parts, Trilogy is a celebratory venture into modern-day feminism and examines and interrogates the joys and complexities of being a woman today.”

I think it sounds like a really interesting experience and have already signed up! Even though it may interfere with volunteering for the festival, I think it would be worth it! In the Guardian, Lynn Gardner describes Trilogy (at the Edinburgh fringe festival last year) as angry, joyous, heartfelt, rigorous and radiant with hope. That’s my kind of show!

It looks like it would be a fairly big commitment – evening rehearsals are from September 18th to 21st and then performances will take place from September 22nd to 25th – but you can come along to the first information evening (where everybody keeps their clothes on!) and see how you feel about it. Nic Green says on the website above; “If you want to come to the first session (which we will do fully clothed!) and decide you don’t want to come back that is of course absolutely fine and we will fully understand. However, if you feel at all interested I would urge you to come along and see what you think and how you feel.”

Another Guardian article about the show in Edinburgh talks to the volunteers who took part and they are all very positive about the experience. And from my own experience, I can tell you that the Fringe knows how to look after its volunteers!

If you’re interested in taking part, or just finding out more, contact Kate at and maybe I’ll see you there!

Volunteer for the Dublin Theatre Festival

The Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival has put out a call for volunteers for this year’s festival. I’ve blogged enthusiastically about my experience volunteering for the Fringe Festival over the last two years but I haven’t actually worked for the Theatre Festival.

Last year I applied to be a volunteer and even went to the information evening but I didn’t make the final cut. The Theatre Festival don’t use as many volunteers as the Fringe and they get a lot of applicants, especially with so many people unemployed at the moment so they can afford to be fussy. I was unavailable for a lot of the festival due to weekends away and other plans so I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t get any shifts.

I have applied again this year, mostly for the free tickets because Theatre Festival shows can be expensive, but I also know that I would get a lot out of the experience.

If you are interested, the application form can be downloaded here.

More Fringe Madness

The Fringe Festival has thoroughly taken over my life. All I seemed to have done for the last two weeks is go to work and Fringe stuff. My room is full of ticket stubs, programmes for shows I went to see and flyers for shows I didn’t manage to get to. I need to hover, and change my bed and wash some clothes. My eye-brows need plucking. Last week I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t seem to get to bed before 11.30pm, this week that’s turned in 1.30am!

Last night I was working at the Speigeltent again, and it was bliss to sleep in until 10 this morning. It was my last shift and I got to see most of the first half of La Clique, which included the girl who spins about 15 hula-hoops at the same time! Amazing! And the wonderful Mario, Queen of the Circus. And because it was my last shift, and things all seemed under control, there was dancing and drinking and hanging out in the Artist’s Tent. It was a good night.

I was down at the Speilgeltent on Wednesday night as well. This time to see Camille O’Sullivan. I went with my mum and dad, and my aunt and uncle like some sort of fifth wheel, a family affair. Last year I saw the Cat’s Miaow with my mum and my aunt, which was a bit of Camille and lots of other people she’d roped in to sing a few songs. This was more of a prepared and rehearsed show with just Camille and the band and it was glorious. She sang for two hours and I think I would have stayed for two more, expect that my ass was falling asleep – Speilgeltent seats are very small and very close together. But it was still an excellent night. We stayed for a drink on George’s Dock and I’m so glad that the weather has been dry for the two weeks and it’s been possible to sit outside and enjoy the evening.

On Thursday I saw Jesus has my Mom in there and has beaten her up real bad and really enjoyed it. It’s a bit strange, a bit like the stuff produced in Brunel, full of ideas and finding interesting ways of putting these ideas on stage. That’s what I like – theatre full of ideas and new ways of looking at the world. Afterwards, I ran up to Blessington Basin for a another fantastic volunteer shift. (Sounds sarcastic but it’s not.) The show – Basin was completely sold-out with 15 people on the waiting list half an hour before it started, most of whom were turned away, and I saw it for free! It was also really, really good. Devised and written especially for the little hidden park at the end of Blessington Street, it was about things that had happened there (the show’s creator used to live in the park-keepers house, inside the park) and things you could imagine happening there. It was really strange and beautiful. I liked the little out-door scenes where it felt like you (and twenty other people) were ease-dropping on the conversations. The pieces inside the house were also like peeking in on something. You were free to wander about the house as you wished – there was no specific order to see things in, and each piece was just a glimpse, just a snippet of life in this house. I really enjoyed it. And enjoyed talked to all the lovely people who worked on it in the pub afterwards and ended up down at the Speiltent, hours after I should have gone to bed.

Today’s been a bit of a lazy day – I’m still in my dressing gown at 3pm – I’m heading out this evening to see Meltdown at the Project and Scar Stories at the Absolut Fringe Factory. I didn’t manage to get a ticket for Madame Butterfly but I’ve been told the show takes place in a window on Crane Lane and that’s it’s worth a look so I’ll wander down and take a look at that too! But sure yet if I’m going to try and cram in a final few shows on Sunday or if I will take it easy before the Fringe Awards and closing night party tomorrow night.