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Inside Look: ArtsEmerson’s Ticket Access Program

By Sara Bookin-Weiner

“You will never know the impact of what you did – my urban, low-income school kids have been so profoundly changed in such a positive way by going to the theater.”—Nancy Barile, Revere High School teacher

It’s not every day that someone sings to you over the phone at work. But when you administer ArtsEmerson’s Ticket Access Program (TAP), that can happen. I realized just how special this program is while talking to the contact for a new organization joining the program. Upon learning that the tickets would be free for her group, she literally sang out in joy, “ah-ah-ahhhhh!!!!” Needless to say, members of her organization have become frequent and ardent theatregoers.

TAP provides so much more than free or discounted theatre tickets to underserved communities. Whether a respite from medical care, a rare outing, a bonding experience for a mentor and mentee, or an introduction to the excitement of live performance, TAP gives new and old theatre-lovers alike the chance to see the world on stage. During the 11/12 Season, it’s been a pleasure to see this program develop and hear how much it means to community participants.

So how does the program work? Organizations can apply to join TAP online—and if you’re reading this and thinking, “Hey, I think my organization qualifies for this super-awesome program!” then you can fill out the online application form by clicking here. When tickets are available, selected organizations are contacted to coordinate ticket purchasing and/or distribution.

I’ve been delighted with the growth of participating organizations in TAP this season. Even though we doubled in size—going from serving 15 to 30 different groups—we’ve still been able to accommodate all of these communities at our performances. In fact, ArtsEmerson distributed over 850 tickets this season alone! So who are these audience members?

We have a wide array of organizations participating in TAP, which in turn diversifies our audience. From younger generations getting their first taste of theatre (including the Home for Little Wanderers, Boys & Girls Clubs, South Boston T.E.A.M.) to those who love attending performances, but otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it (Hale House, Hearth, the Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly) to burgeoning artists themselves (Boston Arts Academy, Zumix, Artists For Humanity, Gateway Arts), each ArtsEmerson production is an opportunity for both relaxation, enjoyment, bonding and new ways of thinking about entertainment.  

I receive a lot of heartwarming emails and thank you notes from organizational contacts—but if you’re an ArtsEmerson donor, these are for you just as much as they are for ArtsEmerson. Your donation makes this program possible—read below to see how much the community appreciates this opportunity.

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