OSF ticket prices on the rise again

Oregon Shakespeare Festival tickets will rise again for the 2014 season, with prices for A+ center-section seats starting at $92, up from $86 for the season that closed in November.

Seats in the A section will start at $74 in the Angus Bowmer Theater and the Elizabethan Stage, and $79 in the intimate Thomas Theater.

There is no A+ section in the Thomas Theater.

During the 2013 season, A section seats in all theaters started at $71.

B section seats on the edges will start at $60, up from $59 in 2013.

OSF is holding the line on prices for C section seats on the extreme edges. Prices will stay at $25 each.

Special D section boxes in the Elizabethan Stage will rise from $95 this year to $102 in 2014.

Base ticket prices can go even higher if demand to see a play is strong, or during busy times of the season, such as summer weekends.

"We're holding ticket prices down on the low end and using the opportunity to make revenue on the A+ section when we can," said OSF Marketing Manager Bob Hackett.

Despite the relatively high A+ section prices, he said those seats are most likely to sell out.

"Most of us look at that price and go, 'Oh, my God! That's expensive!' But it's our strongest selling section," Hackett said.

Hackett said OSF is still crunching numbers, but it appears to have run a deficit of about $600,000 to $700,000 for the year.

Part of that was because of lower-than-projected ticket revenue, he said.

Ticket sales generated $19.6 million, while the budget goal was to sell just over $20 million worth of tickets, Hackett said.

The shortfall came even though OSF posted its third best season ever on ticket sales, he said.

OSF prices have been on the rise year after year.

Since 2011, the price for an A+ section seat has risen by $20.50.

When the A+ section was first created, it encompassed only center seats near the front of the stage. The section now extends to center seats in the middle and back rows of the Angus Bowmer Theater and Elizabethan Stage.

C section seats, meanwhile, have risen only $5 since 2011.

While some theater-goers or people new to theater may shy away from OSF because of the ticket prices, Hackett emphasized that there are numerous ways for people — especially locals — to see plays for less.

When reduced student ticket prices and other deals are factored in, the average ticket for all patrons cost $56 this year, he said.

Rogue Valley theater-goers paid an average of just $28 per ticket, Hackett said.

OSF will again offer its Flex Pass, which allows a buyer to see five plays.

Flex Pass prices have not been set yet for 2014, but the charge will be under $30 per play. Flex Passes must be purchased before the end of February, Hackett said.

OSF will continue its 19-35 program, which allows people ages 19 through 35 to buy tickets for $25, he said.

The 2014 season will have five family day promotions in which tickets will be $25. Participants can attend a prologue to learn about a play, then see the play, Hackett said.

OSF will continue to email information about weekly specials to people on its emailing list, he said.

"If we can communicate with people, we can present to them the various options and they can choose what works for them," Hackett said. "We try to create as many access points as we can. We do need to make revenue when we can."

For more information on the 2014 season and to join the emailing list, visit www.osfashland.org.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.

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