As part of the 16th season of Grand OnStage, the City of Kingston’s performing arts presenting program, the Kingston Grand Theatre has announced two Pay What You Want performances, giving members of the community accessible and affordable options to experience the performing arts. This season, audiences can attend Little Pear Garden Dance Company’s Spectrum of Connection and Dancers of Damelahamid’s Spirit and Tradition, while deciding for themselves how much they’d like to pay.
According to Jayson Duggan, the City of Kingston’s Performing Arts Manager, the program is offered with an eye to accessibility. “As the City of Kingston’s Grand OnStage presenting program enters its 16th season at the Kingston Grand Theatre, accessibility to the arts remains a key priority for this performing arts series.”
2023-24 marks the second season the theatre has offered Pay What You Want performances. Duggan said, explaining that the program “was introduced in 2022-2023 with the intention of encouraging patrons to enjoy select programs without the barrier of an up-front ticket purchase.”
While there is no up-front cost for the tickets, Duggan said audiences will have the option to leave a donation at the theatre. “Patrons are encouraged to attend the performance and make a voluntary payment in person or online, should they wish, following the completion of the show. It is a no-pressure way for all to seek out new artistic experiences, attend a show that they might not typically attend, and enjoy the performing arts at the Kingston Grand without having to make a financial commitment,” he remarked, emphasizing that there is no minimum or maximum recommended amount. Patrons are asked to contribute what they are able to, if they choose to make a donation.
This season, audiences can attend two Pay What You Want performances, the first of which is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, as the Little Pear Garden Dance Company presents Spectrum of Connection. The production, which explores connections between “ancient Chinese calligraphy” and “modern sensibilities,” combines traditional and modern dance techniques in a manner that blends Eastern and Western cultures.
Based in Toronto, Ontario, the Little Pear Garden Dance Company features Canadian artists who practice both Chinese traditional and contemporary dance styles.
Later this season, audiences can select Pay What You Want seats for the Dancers of Damelahamid’s Spirit and Tradition. “The Dancers of Damelahamid’s spellbinding performances have been praised for their artistry, athleticism, and authenticity, and have received acclaim across Canada and internationally. Don’t miss the chance to witness this unique and awe-inspiring celebration of Indigenous culture and history,” notes the Kingston Grand Theatre Website. Spirit and Tradition is scheduled for Wednesday, May 8, 2024.
The two Pay What You Want performances are part of several discount ticket programs offered by the Kingston Grand Theatre, including the popular IMPACT program, which offers a 50 per cent discount to select performances for audiences under the age of 30. The theatre also provides discounts for Kingston Transit Pass holders, arts and culture workers, and those enrolled in the City of Kingston’s Municipal Fee Assistance Program (MFAP).
More information about the Pay What You Want performances, as well as links to select the free seats, can be found on the ‘Discount Programs’ page of the Grand Theatre website. Theatre-goers can also get tickets by calling (613)-530-2050 or visiting the Kingston Grand Theatre box office at 218 Princess Street.