Performing Arts Department offers free tickets for all undergraduate students

Merry May Ma | Contributing Reporter

All shows sponsored by Performing Arts Department are now free for all Washington University undergraduate, graduate, and University College students. The department hopes that this new measure will increase attendance at student productions.

“We are very excited about [it] because we always want to get every Wash. U. student from every department to see [Performing Arts Department (PAD)] productions,” William Larson, operations manager of Edison Theatre, said.

Prior to the new policy, the price of a performance for each student was $10. Larson believes that the financial barrier was one reason for low attendance at PAD shows.

“We really want to look at what were the barriers and reasons that [students] might not come, so we decided to cancel the admission fee for performances,” Larson said. “We don’t want [the price] to be a barrier anymore.”

Now that students ticket sales will no longer bring in revenue, the College of Arts & Sciences will support the PAD budget.

“We will be working with the department to see they stay with their budget. And there will be some support from Arts & Sciences for this,” Larson said. “So if there is a lack of income because of the ticket sales…Arts & Sciences will help [resolve the cost issue].”

In addition to the free tickets, students can now reserve seats in advance. With this new policy, Larson hopes that students will have easier access to attending PAD productions.

“I grew up in theater, so I know what dramas can convey. This news is such a heart-warming thing that I cannot wait to share my show to everyone,” Josh Sarris, stage manager for “The Rocky Horror Show,” said. “The more people can come to it, the happier I am because my efforts have paid off.”

Sarris also believes that having a greater student presence in the audience will fuel the energy of the performers.

“It is kind of [full] circle. We see energy from the crowd,” Sarris said. “Opening it up, bringing [in] more people is fantastic.”

Students are looking forward to being able to attend more shows.

“I will definitely go,” freshman Andrew Bass said. “I would like to see what our school is doing during extracurricular time. It is a benefit-to-all policy.”

According to the PAD website, professors are encouraged to utilize performances as materials to inspire students to feel the power of dramas as well.

The first performance will be T.T.C Dance Company’s “Persistence of Memory” by Ting-Ting Chang Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in Edition Theatre.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that graduate and professional students may also receive free tickets through the program.