Ashland Local’s Secrets on Saving Money on Oregon Shakespeare Festival Tickets

The Bard on a Budget

Or an Ashland Local’s Secrets on Saving Money on Oregon Shakespeare Festival Tickets

By Robynne Whitaker

The 2017 season for Ashland, Oregon’s famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival ends on October 29, but theater fans are already planning their 2018 visits. If you’ve never visited or if it’s been a while, prepare for sticker shock—some seats cost more than $100 per person, making the bill for a night of theater for a family of four look an awful lot like your car payment. Ouch!

Oregon-shakespeare-festival-theatre

But you can save money if you plan ahead. Here are some ideas:

  1. See previews. The 2018 season officially begins on February 23. However, you can see performances the week before at highly discounted prices. Performers get better feedback from a full house, so sometimes you can even get tickets the day of the show for free. The catch is that performances won’t be as polished as they are later in the season. You might see an occasional lighting, costume or performance gaffe. Some plays get tweaked as the season goes along, particularly newer plays. But if you are a regular theater-goer, it can be fun to see a play twice and see how it evolves over the season.

  2. Become a member. OSF has a special presale for members; members can buy the best seats at a discount beginning in November 2017. Presale dates, number of tickets available during presale and discounts vary by membership level; see OSF’s website at https://www.osfashland.org/give-and-join/individuals/membership/presale.aspxtickets for more information.

  3. Check the OSF Weekly Web Specials. As of this writing, the web specials are updated each Thursday. If there are a lot of seats still available, you can often buy tickets at a 30 percent discount.

  4. Buy a Flex PassFor the 2017 season, a Flex Pass cost $175 for five tickets, a bargain at $35 per ticket. There is a catch, of course. Flex passes are only available for a limited time (in February, for 2017). You must buy a flex pass by visiting or calling the box office and can only use them for certain seats at certain performances. If you plan to use Flex Passes for popular shows, be sure to redeem your Flex Pass early in the season to avoid disappointment.

  5. Attend a special “Family Day” performance. OSF designates certain performances as Family Days. In 2017, they offered special $30 tickets for six performances for families with children ages 6-17. Tickets go on sale early, so check the website in January.

  6. Get tickets through AAA. For the 2017 season, AAA Oregon and Idaho offered members a 10 percent discount. You must buy tickets through AAA and certain restrictions apply.

  7. Buy “rush” tickets. On a flexible schedule and not picky about what you see or where you sit? You can buy $45 tickets one hour before designated “rushing” shows. Students with a valid ID can get rush tickets for only $15. Sold only at Box Office windows one hour before curtain. Check with Box Office on day of show for availability.

  8. Use a military discount. OSF offers a 15% discount* on all adult-price tickets to active duty U.S military or National Guard members and their immediate families and/or recently returned veterans of the armed services. Offer is valid Sunday – Thursday all season long in every theatre.

  9. Buy a C Section seat. In 2017, OSF offered all C section seats to all shows all season are only $30, including summer shows. These tickets are usually in the back rows or on the sides of the theater. They can sell out early, so plan ahead for these deals.

  10. Volunteer. If you live in southern Oregon and want to support local arts, consider volunteering. You’ll be supporting live theater and a vital part of Ashland’s economy…and you can also score some free tickets, depending on the number of hours you volunteer.

Realtor Robynne Whitaker first came to Ashland to visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1992. She and her husband liked the town so much they relocated their family in 1998 to raise their children here. This is her home; if you’d like to learn more about relocating, please contact her at rwhitaker541@gmail.com; 541-840-7212.

Photo Courtesy of Amy Richards

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