February 27, 2023Announcements

Announcing Choose What You Pay @ Basement

Photographer: Ralph Brown

It’s 2023, the robots are here to stay and life is more expensive than ever. Along with putting cherry tomatoes in salads, attending live performance will soon become a seriously elitist sport if we’re not careful. And this is troubling, because we think that just like tomatoes, live performance should be accessible to everyone. Why? Because it is a glorious elixir for the soul. We believe in it, and we want everyone to get their healthy dosage. So we’re gonna take some bold steps to make that happen.

At Basement we are introducing a new ticketing scheme. It’s called Choose What You Pay and it’s fire. It enables everyone that wants to see a show to have buyer agency, and decide for themselves how much to spend on their ticket.

We are absolutely fizzing about what Choose What You Pay means for everyone who comes to Basement. Here is a little word from some of our people on what it means to them. 

Amanda Wilson, regular producer at Basement

My time as a producer with Basement Theatre taught me a lot of things. One of the common convos we’d have would be around how much tickets cost, and where the starting prices would/should/could be. I would have these conversations with artists and what came out of these for me was the importance of sustainability & equity. Where do we find the middle ground for our artists to thrive financially and our audiences having more access to shows? A lot of the artists I have worked with have expressed how ticket prices determine the likelihood of their own people showing up to a show! It's why we love a free ticket… or two. So, what can we do to make this theatre experience less about how much tickets cost to support our people?

Choose What you Pay. It’s simple ;) ~ It feels like a privilege to be able to watch great theatre these days, prices can be wild! Choose What You Pay means artists walk away with a sustainable amount in their pockets and the audience get to tautoko as financially comfortable as they can.

Choose What You Pay = Artists leave you in control of what they deserve and what you can afford!

Choose What You Pay = Your potential audience is widened because more people will be able to afford what they can and turn up!

Sounds like the best of both worlds to me!!!

Cat Ruka, Basement Theatre Executive Director

When I was a child my single mother of four was a magician at making spaghetti bolognese last a week. We sewed our own clothes and made our own cleaning products. Sometimes my brothers would paint Nike ticks on their sneakers. Mum hustled her own versions of Afterpay with my dance teachers, so that I never went without my passion. 

Fast forward to my early twenties living life as an ‘emerging artist’. I’m eating toast and pity-offerings from my flatmates. My lecturers are telling me that seeing shows is an important part of my practice, but in order to do that I have to skip two meals or hope that someone else will add me as their +1. Whenever I do get to sit in an audience ‘my people’ are never there; sometimes that makes me so uncomfortable that I end up not wanting to go anyway. 

There is a troubling class divide in mainstream theatre spaces, it’s firmly entrenched, and it sux. As arts administrators, I think we should be working way harder to remove financial barriers from the live performance experience. Ticket price is a key part of why theatre is not a place for class intersectionality. It’s my own humble background that has informed my desire to help bring Choose What You Pay to Basement.It might not fix the problem in one fell swoop, but it’s a cute and sassy little start. 

Nicola Brown, Basement Theatre Marketing & Relationships Manager

I am a big nerd for two things:

  1. Wingspan -  an engine-building board game that is all about birds

  2. Choose What You Pay

Two very different things, but they are similar to me as I can’t shut up about either and they both encourage their participants to look out for one another.

In Wingspan, gorgeous Anna’s Hummingbird with a wingspan of just 13cm is in fact mighty. Anna’s Hummingbird may be a bird your opponent played, but you also receive a little something from the birdfeeder just because you’re playing the game. Not a single part of the game (or bird) is unfriendly.

Like Wingspan, Choose What You Pay means your decision could benefit others as well as yourself. The last few years have shown me that audience-goers didn’t just buy a ticket to be entertained. For some, a ticket purchase meant that they were showing up for an artist, for others a ticket purchase meant they were supporting an artist’s future financially.

Choose What You Pay allows people to make their decision based on their own motivations to be at a show. People are able to be more present because tickets are from $8. Other people can donate really simply by buying a ticket up to $100. No matter which price an audience member picks, it all benefits the artist. 

Wingspan may be the most wholesome game you have ever heard, but there is still a loser. With Choose What You Pay, everyone is a winner. 

iTicket, Basement's ticketing provider

In 2022, iTICKET’s incredible Development Team had the unique opportunity to work alongside the team at the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts to develop and pilot a dynamic, values-driven pricing software - Kōwhirihia Tō Utu - Choose Your Price. This platform empowers audiences to select a ticket price based on what they can afford. This development marked the next step in ticket pricing ingenuity, and helped to answer a question many Arts Sector clients had been asking; “how do we allow our customers to choose what they pay for their tickets?”

We are very proud to have worked with the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts to develop this product on the iTICKET platform, and we are now able to offer ‘FLEXi Pricing’ for real world testing to clients such as Basement Theatre to run their Choose What You Pay initiative. A core iTICKET value is supporting live NZ events, and we can see the immense potential Choose What You Pay has to do that. This is an initiative that will help wider audiences gain access to quality live experiences, and allow those audiences to support the artists behind the events in new ways. At iTICKET; We. Love. It. Live. and we are so excited to be a part of Basement Theatre’s next step in presenting live events in NZ and growing audiences!

Choose What You Pay is a choice for artists too - they get to choose whether or not to attach this ticketing strategy to their show. Our Summer season Choose What You Pay shows are Tea with Terrorists, Snort, To Be Frank, The Wedding and Badong.