Staff Editorial: Ticket subsidization presents opportunity for all

Washington University recently announced that, starting this semester, all Performing Arts Department (PAD) productions will be free to all undergraduate and University College students. Events will still be ticketed, but students just need to stop at the Edison Theatre box office before entering. Prior to this change, tickets would cost around $10. This initiative was started to help the student body engage more with PAD shows.

In our eyes, this initiative shows that the administration cares about encouraging students to participate in fields more than the most often-cited ones,such as STEM or business. This can be seen as an encouragement tool by the University to get more support for the students participating in the performances and for the PAD as a whole. By doing this, Wash. U. is going against the tide of the Trump Administration’s plan to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts. The University is showing that it has a vested interest in the performing arts and believe they are a valued part of students’ education, not just a side hobby or niche community.

Students should take advantage of the opportunity to see as many PAD shows as they would like with this new initiative in place. Students who normally may have not gone to these performances now have an incentive and ability to see what the PAD has to offer.  For some, the former price of admissions for these productions presented a significant barrier togoing to such events. With that now eliminated, those who may have been deterred by the pricing of tickets or could not afford tickets are now ableto come.

Formerly, one of the ways students were encouraged to attend PAD performances was through free tickets subsidized by individual residential colleges. With this new initiative in place, residential colleges can now use the money used to purchase the tickets to fund or purchase tickets for other activities and events, potentially for student-run productions like Cast N’ Crew or Thyrsus shows. Similarly, residential colleges could use this as an opportunity to bring more students to PAD shows,as they would no longer be limited to the amount of tickets they are able to collectively pay for.

Overall, this initiative by the University to subsidize the PAD shows is a win for both the student body and for the department as a whole. It shows a great deal of encouragement tothe students performing that the University has a vested interest in supporting the work they do and encouragesthe student body as a whole to experience what the department has to offer.