Winter is drawing nearer, and with it comes Toronto’s dazzling extravaganza of wintertime shows and concerts. Unfortunately, for many students who lack the funds to dish out over $100 on a Mirvish ticket, or even $40 on a Canadian Stage ticket, this might mean admiring throngs of well-dressed theatregoers from afar, rather than lavishing in their midst.
To all these wistful wannabes — don’t despair! From the symphony to the theatre, the Toronto theatre scene is awash with student discounts that will light up any student’s winter break and let them bask in the luxury and pomp of live entertainment.
While largely a relic of a time before television devastated the public’s appreciation for the fine arts, the ballet is still a coveted destination. During the winter months especially, the National Ballet of Canada boasts a strong repertoire of shows.
The Winter’s Tale is breathtaking in its detailed and whimsical set, elegant contemporary choreography, and incredible dancing technique, while The Nutcracker is celebrated for its brilliant costuming, enchanting music, and dizzying sequences of perfect à la seconde turns.
This winter, you can sign up for the National Ballet’s free DanceBreak program, which allows users between 16 and 29 years of age to purchase discounted tickets the day of the show, making the prestigious pastime of attending the ballet much more attainable.
Like the ballet, opera is an ostensibly outdated form of entertainment. But as antique becomes chic, opera is once again a viable — not to mention classy — way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
The Canadian Opera Company offers an Opera Under 30 program, through which people 29 and younger can buy opera tickets for $22. The Opera Atelier’s OPERATIX program is similar, offering $15 opera tickets to those aged 15–30.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) offers a shockingly low price of $16 for tickets bought a few days prior by music lovers aged 15–35. Students should sign up for the TSO’s TSOUNDCHECK program to reap these benefits during the holidays, perhaps by enjoying a discounted pass to see Howard Blake’s genius with the production of The Snowman.
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir will host Handel’s “Messiah” on December 13–16, as well as a festive singalong production on December 17; the venue offers discounted tickets to the under-35 crowd through a subscription to the Tafelscene club.
Toronto’s rich amalgam of quality theatrical productions has lent it the title of “Broadway of the North,” and the holidays are an especially exciting time to visit Toronto’s many theatres.
Mirvish makes merry with a run of the new production of the original Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet, and Ross Petty has a whacky take on A Christmas Carol, a Yuletide must-see with its witty script adaptation, excellent acting, and beautiful costumes. This feel-good Christmas classic, soaked in nostalgia and heartwarming storytelling, is sure to delight even the Scrooges in the audience.
Soulpepper offers rush tickets for $25, and $5 tickets for those 21 and under, upon presentation of ID. The organization also has a StagePlay program for those under $30, offering $20 tickets for most performances, when you sign up at Stageplay.ca.
For further theatrical discounts, Canadian Stage’s C-Stage program offers youth under 30 access to $15 tickets, and the Sony Centre’s Under 30 Rush Club offers tickets to a variety of shows for the same price.
hipTIX.ca also offers $5 student tickets to a variety of shows, including comedy showcases, musicals, and dramatic productions.
It’s a great time to be a student — take advantage of these deals this winter season, and enjoy the karmic reward for all those hours spent on papers and studying. Remember to bring student ID as you celebrate Christmas break with class!
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect current dates and ticket prices.