The Living Ticket
(From the 2013 Flux Annual Retreat at Little Pond, photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum. We love this image of Creative Partner Will Lowry turning back to invite someone along wherever it is we’re all headed together. That feels like the spirit of the Living Ticket.)
THE SHORT VERSION: In a hurry? Check out our Marian Current, Minimum, and Living wage budget and giving levels, and then reserve your Living Ticket! Easier than stealing from the rich to give to the poor…though maybe not quite as much fun.
At a more leisurely moment (when not running from the Sheriff’s men, of course), read more about the Living Ticket below, and the Open Book program here.
THE LONG VERSION:
What is a Living Ticket? Beginning with our production of Salvage in April 2015, no financial transaction is required to attend a Flux performance. You can reserve your Living Ticket online, or obtain it in-person at the show (space permitting). Money is no longer a barrier to entry for any Flux production!
So all Flux shows are free? Yes, and not exactly. We don’t use the word free, because it costs us quite a bit to create these productions: in material costs, in rentals, and above all, in the work of the people making this show for you. It isn’t free, but it doesn’t cost you anything to attend—it’s a Living Ticket, so if you want the work Flux does to live, we encourage you to support Flux however you can.
So is this just Pay What You Can? Yes, and not exactly. We don’t use the word pay because we want the Living Ticket to be an ongoing relationship of mutual support, not a one-time transaction, and we define mutual support more broadly than just show me the money.
Now, one way to support Flux is by making a financial gift at the time of your reservation or at the theatre. We’ll provide a detailed budget for you in both places—one that shows how much we pay our artists now, and how much support we’d need to pay a living wage. As part of our Open Book program, Flux’s budgets are completely transparent and detailed so that you can trust your money is being responsibly spent.
That’s another thing about Flux: because we’re an ensemble, we pay all of our artists equally and prioritize paying people over other costs. That’s another meaning to Living Ticket: your support will empower Flux to pay living and equitable wages to our creative team.
But what if I can’t give financially? First, by showing up and participating in our productions, you’re already giving the most precious thing any of us have: time. Thank you. If you’re inspired to give more, and money isn’t an option right now, we encourage you to give in other ways: by inviting more people to come see the show (you’re our marketing budget), by volunteering at tech or the box office, by participating in our various play and community development programs (artists and non-artists are equally welcome). We value the gift of time as deeply as financial support—click here for more ways to give.
So is the goal of the Living Ticket to pay artists more, or to remove the financial barrier to attendance? Yes and yes and much more than that. The goals of the Living Ticket program are:
- To remove all financial barriers to attendance at Flux shows;
- To ensure our collaborative community is truly representative of the city we love;
- To sustain long-term relationships with our community through ticketing and donor systems based on transparency and mutual support;
- To provoke an honest, transparent conversation about compensation, living wages and theatre people beyond the false binaries of producer vs artist;
- To work in solidarity with other movements advocating for cultural accessibility and ethical compensation;
- To assert that the not-for-profit movement exists to create alternative models of communal value, and not merely mimic for-profit structures;
- To make Flux’s Living Ticket feel just as magical as any Golden Ticket to a Chocolate Factory!
Ooh, I’m in, I’m in! What are the next steps? Check out our Marian Current, Minimum, and Living wage budget and giving levels, and then reserve your Living Ticket! Thank you for your interest in Flux’s Open Source Theatre approach, and our Living Ticket.
How did this all come about? We’re so glad you stuck around to ask that question. First, we want to acknowledge that the Living Ticket is in conversation with the generations of theatre-makers who have tried similar approaches, from the food-for-plays genesis of the Barter Theatre to Joe Papp’s vision of Shakespeare for everyone to Mixed Blood’s Radical Hospitality program. Second, we want to acknowledge that the name “Living Ticket” came from the amazing Stephanie Willing, who coined it as part of a Friends of Flux brainstorming session at one of our SpeakEasys. Third, the impetus for this grew out of our 2014 Annual Retreat, where we felt we had to align our marketing and ticketing strategies with our Core Values–and that if we did, it might not only be transformative for Flux, but could serve as a useful model for others.
Yeah, but–and sorry to ask this, but–what if it doesn’t work? Our research has shown that similar approaches have been successful, and thanks to your support Salvage went well, as did Rizing. Nevertheless, we realize this effort could fail, and if it does, it could prove deeply problematic to Flux’s continued existence. But if we can’t take that risk now, when will it be any easier? And if we fail, we’ll dust ourselves off, transparently explain what happened, and try something new.