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Tickets go on sale for Festival’s 2013 season

The Stratford Festival’s box office opens to members on Monday, Nov. 12 at 9 a.m., putting them first in line to purchase tickets for the 2013 season.

A special advance online sale to members will be offered this Sunday, Nov. 11, beginning at noon.

Sales to the general public begin Jan. 5, with online advance sales beginning Jan. 4.

This season, the first under artistic director Antoni Cimolino, features 12 productions and a new initiative to enhance the play-going experience, The Forum, a series of  events planned around a cluster of themes that run through the playbill.

These themes explore the idea of communities, particularly communities divided, and the role of the outsider in society, through such plays as Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Fiddler on the Roof, Othello, Mary Stuart and Tommy. The themes will be explored through interactive discussions, comedy events, music and film.

This season also sees the introduction of some new initiatives to improve the ticket-buying experience.

Stratford Social Ticketing is a new Facebook application that allows people to purchase tickets through their personal Facebook page.

The app allows users to create a Festival Facebook Event, where they can co-ordinate visits to Stratford with friends and family.

It even offers a seat selection function through which users can see where their Facebook friends will be sitting and select their own seats accordingly.

The free app can be downloaded at http://apps.facebook.com/stratfordsocial.

Sales to Facebook fans of the Festival will be able to buy their tickets on Jan. 3, ahead of the general public.

The Festival took the lead in developing the new app, partnering with the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Center Theater Group, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the San Francisco Ballet, the Seattle Repertory Theatre and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

The Festival is also introducing a pre-season promise, which allows advance ticket buyers to exchange their tickets without incurring additional costs.

Those who order before Jan. 31 will keep their pre-season ticket price while being able to exchange for the same performance type and seating zone without paying exchange fees.

In addition to holding ticket prices at last year’s levels, the Festival is offering the following:

• Up to 25 per cent off tickets purchased before Jan. 31. ·

• A new $20 ticket price for students (down from $25).

• A 50 per cent reduction in handling fees for all online purchases.

• A two-for-one promotion for tickets to Tuesday evening performances all season long (except opening nights).

• A number of free and low cost Forum events.

• Twice-daily bus service from Toronto at a cost of $10 each way.

“Our goal is to enhance the Stratford experience in as many ways as possible,” says executive director Anita Gaffney.

“We want people to enjoy not only the productions, but also the many Forum events we have planned. We hope that by introducing such things as Two-for-one Tuesdays, along with lower prices for students, reduced fees and an affordable twice-daily bus from Toronto, people will be able to come to Stratford more often or stay longer and immerse themselves in the theatre and the city.”

The 2013 season begins on April 23 and runs until Oct. 20, featuring Romeo and Juliet, Fiddler on the Roof, The Three Musketeers, The Merchant of Venice, Tommy, Blithe Spirit, Othello, Measure for Measure, Mary Stuart, Waiting for Godot and two new Canadian plays, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill.

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