Battery opera’s artistic producer David McIntosh hopes that a 10-fold increase in ticket prices for an upcoming theatrical production will help foster a dialogue around the real costs of the B.C. Liberals’ funding cuts to the arts.
At the beginning of this year, tickets for the original 40-show run of McIntosh’s Lives Were Around Me, a site-specific work dealing with the themes of history and culture in a once-vibrant port city, cost audience members $26 plus service charges. To cover the costs of the remount, battery opera is charging $267.67 per ticket. (According to battery opera’s Web site, those who want to see that show but can’t afford those tickets can pay by donation.)“I thought it would be interesting to reflect the actual cost of a production in the ticket price and see where that lands,” McIntosh told the Straight. “I’m lucky in this show because it’s actually very cheap because it’s a remount, and I don’t actually need a theatre or anything.” McIntosh forecasts battery opera will lose “about 20 to 30 percent” of its 2008-09 budget due to provincial cuts to gaming grants.
Beginning at the Alibi Room, Lives takes three audience members on a tour through the Downtown Eastside, guided by one of three narrators (Adrienne Wong, Paul Ternes, and Aleister Murphy). Five performances take place each night on November 17 and November 24, and December 1, 8, and 15.
“For me, the main question is, ”˜What is the purpose of public funding for the arts?’” said McIntosh. “This is a way to reframe that discussion.”