Free in WNY / Free theater
There’s a perception that theater is expensive, a pastime only for those with lots of disposable income—but that’s not the case. While it’s true that Buffalo theater tickets range from $25 to the highest Shea’s prices, many local theaters offer heavily discounted—or free—tickets if you know where to look. Most free offers are for preview performances, but if you don’t see a theater listed here, and there’s a show you really want to see (the complete monthly listings can be found every issue in Spree’s “Onstage “column), call and ask about previews. In addition:
Alleyway Theatre: The second Thursday of each production is pay-what-you-can.
Buffalo Infringement Festival: Every year, BIF offers a host of theater for dirt cheap (BIF caps admissions at $10) or donation only.
Irish Classical: Free previews are usually the Thursday before opening, the first Saturday is pay-what-you-can for students, and subscribers can bring a high school student free to any performance.
Kavinoky Theatre: Previews the Wednesday and Thursday prior to any opening are pay-what-you-can or bring a canned good.
New Phoenix Theatre: All Thursday performances are pay-what-you-can.
Shakespeare in Delaware Park: Two plays performed on the hill each summer are always free to all!
Subversive Theatre Collective: All Thursday performances are pay-what-you-can.
Other ways to secure free tickets:
Volunteer: Buffalo theaters are always in need of volunteers for a variety of tasks, from ushering to construction. Call and ask how you can be of service in exchange for free tickets.
Join the Dramatists Guild: If you’ve ever written a play, you can join the Dramatists Guild, which, for a $90 a year associate membership, entitles you to free tickets at Jewish Repertory Theatre, Road Less Traveled Productions, American Repertory Theatre—as well as at theaters around the country—and heavily discounted tickets at other area theaters. If interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Write reviews: Several websites—Buffalo Theatre Guide, Buffalo Rising, and Buffalo Vibe—have started offering alternative critical voices to the Buffalo News. If you have a theater background and writing skills, you may be able to write reviews for these sites, and nearly every theater in town offers free press tickets.
In addition, while not free, discounted student, industry, and senior rates are offered at nearly every theater; check websites for details.