Ticket prices a Catch-22 for theatre companies

Plus, kudos to the AGO, in praise of indie music and the facts on firearms

Theatre ticket prices a real Catch-22

When you compare for-profit to not-for-profit theatre, what Glenn Sumi’s article on skyrocketing theatre ticket prices (NOW, May 9-15) fails to consider is that performing arts organizations have a duty to pay a living wage to their artists.

Annual increases to salaries are built in to union agreements. Costs go up every year (including labour and rental costs) that need to be recuperated somehow. This is compounded for theatre companies that have to contend with more than one union. 

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in unions, but the public has to recognize that there are few resources available outside of pay freezes for staff (which is the common fallback), more fundraising and increasing ticket prices – especially in a climate where public funding is stagnant or eroding. 

Not-for-profits are not out to gouge ticket buyers they have a responsibility to balance a budget and that means leveraging their few revenue streams. They want more audience, not less, but it’s a real Catch-22. 

Joanna Craig, Toronto

Music to this indie lover’s ears

I am a weekly columnist for Bob Segarini’s Don’t Believe A Word I Say blog, and a passionate supporter of indie music. Congratulations to Michelle da Silva on a great article (NOW, May 9-15), which I found very educational. 

As she mentions, service fees that are split between the ticket agency and the artist are manifestations of greed, pure and simple.

I have often said that the only real difference between a “big box” show and an indie show is a) the price of admission, and b) the size of the sound system. 

I also recently observed that what you pay for parking at a “big box” event would go a long way toward getting you in the door, buying a CD and getting a beer at an indie show.

Peter Montreuil, Toronto

Praise for the AGO

Kudos to the AGO. It’s about time they lowered the price of admission (NOW, May 9-15). They’ll have a new member in me.

Tan Krupanszky, Toronto

Firearms facts

Ken Price of triggerchange.ca writes that “The AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, which can become fully automatic and has been used in several mass shootings globally, continues to be widely sold in Canada.” (NOW, May 9-15)

Firearms are precision-built machines. They do not “become automatic” easily, and the slightest error in the transformation of parts required to do so will probably cause the rifle to experience a serious malfunction which at best renders it useless, and at worst seriously injures its operator. 

Mike Charters, From nowtoronto.com

Green New Deal not green enough

Canada’s Green New Deal (NOW, May 2-8) calls on political parties to create a new plan for a “safe future and more prosperous present.” In the words of the Green New Deal coalition, the plan must meet the demands of Indigenous knowledge and science and cut Canada’s emissions in half in 11 years while protecting cultural and biological diversity. It must also leave no one behind.

Canada is per capita one of the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide. Cutting our emission in half by 2030, as the Green New Deal proposes, would lower our per capita level to about twice the unsustainable global average. The Canadian government now owns a multi-billion dollar pipeline. The Canada Pension Plan is deeply invested in coal, oil and gas companies. To cut emissions in half should be considered negligent.

Rosalind Adams, From nowtoronto.com

Blaming Israel, again

Letter-writer Dan Calvano blames Israel and Zionism for “terrorizing Muslim communities globally” (NOW, May 9-15). How can this letter do anything other than contribute to negative attitudes? As a Jew who supports Israel, but is critical of some of its government’s policies, such as expansion of the settlements, I am troubled by yet another such example. 

Stephen Hebscher, Toronto

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