There’s no point in paying the sky-high costs of living and transporting yourself in Toronto if you’re not going to take advantage of the ever-vibrant city.
Sure, that means eating, drinking and playing your way through the restaurants and bars throughout, but it also means exploring Toronto’s colourful arts scene. While things like the major musical theatre productions, long-established comedy shows and hot-ticket concerts often come with hefty price tags, there are ways to take in the arts that won’t break the bank.
Here are six of them…
Catch an Art Battle
Art Battle live competitive painting has gained quick traction in cities throughout the country. The monthly event offers a chance to not only take in the creative process of talented local artists (with a cheap glass of wine or beer in hand), but to obtain affordable art to hang in your place as well – no matter how limited your wall real estate. Here’s how it goes down: artists create their best works of art in 20 minutes, then it’s up to the audience to vote for their favourite. The paintings are silent auctioned off at modest prices after each round. Art Battle takes place at the Great Hall and costs $20 at the door.
Hit Up a Monologue Slam
Every month, you can take in an array of raw, diverse talent at its finest at one of the city’s monologue slams. The Toronto Monologue Slam is an acting competition that features powerful performances by Toronto’s hottest and up-and-coming actors, as they battle for the title of Best Actor and offer a mixed bag of quality entertainment in the process. Think, a grassroots American Idol for the actor, as an expert panel of the industry’s top agents, teachers, directors, casting directors, producers and actors, judge the talent. Tickets are $10 each online and $15 at the door.
Take in Some Quality Indie Theatre
Quality theatre doesn’t have to cost a fortune or involve some massive production – both literally and on your part. Toronto is home to a handful of casual, grassroots fringe festival-style independent theatres. A far cry from Shakespeare, many productions deal with the pop culture reference-filled realities of modern day life, offering theatre that even your self-proclaimed theatre-hating friend can appreciate and enjoy. Furthermore, the whole evening will cost less than seeing a movie, once you factor in the over-priced popcorn. Check out upcoming shows at the Red Sand Castle Theatre, Alumnae Theatre , The Soulpepper Theatre and The Factory Theatre.
Take Advantage of Discounts at Toronto Culture Spots
These days, experiencing music and art at some of Toronto’s most respected and long-established organizations is more affordable than you think. For those in the dark, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) offers free admission every Wednesday night from 6 to 9 for their collection galleries (note: this doesn’t include special exhibits). If you’re looking to de-stress and are 35 or under, you can take in the quality classical music of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) for just $16 after signing up to become a TSoundchek member. Meanwhile, over at the Four Seasons Centre, if you’re 29 or younger, you can enjoy a night at the opera for $22 to $35.
Sing Along at Open Mic Nights
Most of us would probably like to see more concerts than we do, especially since Toronto has become a mainstay on the tour stops of pretty much every major artist. But the reality is that doing so isn’t cheap. Nor is a ticket to the growing number of amazing music festivals that temp the wallet. While the eyes of all starving and aspiring musicians are on the city’s growing number of closing indie music venues, the good news is that there us no shortage of quality open mic nights throughout the city. Favourites include Free Times Café or The Amsterdam Bicycle Club on Mondays and Dave’s on St. Clair on Thursdays.
LOL For Less
While the major comedy scene players like Second City and YukYuks dish up guaranteed laughs, their regular programming isn’t always easy on the wallet (especially when you include the drinks and food). YukYuks, however, features Amateur Nights on Thursday, which will set you back $4. Another alternative is Bloor Street West’s Comedy Bar, which won’t set you back quite as much for some laugh-filled improv or standup comedy. In addition to flowing drinks and quality pub grub, the bar offers affordable comedy programming nightly, featuring quality up-and- coming and established talent.
Did we miss any other affordable ways to get your art fix in Toronto? Let Vv Magazine know in the comment section or by tweeting us at @ViewtheVibe.