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Diego on a Dime Part II: Cheap Theater Seats

Looking to experience more of San Diego’s theater scene without saying goodbye to your budget? I’ve got the secrets to snagging discount play tickets at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, North Coast Repertory, Cygnet Theatre, as well as smaller and more intimate theatre stages in town. With all these steals for San Diego stages, there’s simply no room for full-price foolishness at the box office.

San Diego Repertory Theatre
At the Lyceum Theatre, home to the San Diego Repertory Theatre, anyone with a valid student ID can purchase play tickets for a mere $18 - and that price includes parking validation for six hours at the Horton Plaza. San Diego Repertory Theatre presents six contemporary productions and four annual festivals (September-June) in the Lyceum Theatre, located at Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego.

North Coast Repertory Theatre
During the run of a North Coast Repertory Theatre main stage production, ten tickets will be made available for $20 each at the theater box office beginning at 12 p.m each day. You can buy up to two tickets, cash only. Call ahead to make sure that these tickets will be available for that day’s performance. North Coast Repertory Theatre features seven productions year-round in an intimate setting in Solana Beach.

Cygnet Theatre
The best time to catch a play by the Cygnet Theatre is during their preview shows, when Section B seats are only $17 and Section A goes for a mere $27. Groups of ten or more can save $4 more off those preview prices, so gather your crew together to catch a play at this avant-garde theater company. Cygnet performs at an intimate space in the Old Town Theatre.

More intimate theatres
Even in a county bursting with top-drawer theatrical attractions, the best cultural values can often be found at smaller, community theater companies. Prices are cheaper (full-price tickets go for the same price as a larger theater’s half-off tix), seats are closer to the stage, sound is clearer, and even better, you’d be supporting mostly unpaid actors who are performing for the love of it.

Plus, many of these smaller troupes offer Pay-What-You-Can nights. Just sign up for their email list and you’ll be the first to know when these are offered. Don’t know where to start exploring San Diego’s intimate theatres? See below for some of my picks or check with the San Diego Performing Arts League to find a theater company in your area.

Moxie Theatre -Plucky actors and gutsy and intriguing productions.

Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company - Socially relevant and emotionally searing productions.

OnStage Playhouse - A community theater in downtown Chula Vista that produces six plays a year.

Diversionary Theatre - One of the oldest LGBT theatres in the country, the Diversionary Theatre produces edgy dramatic productions and playful musicals, located in University Heights.

Compass Theatre - Formerly 6th@Penn, this theater produces cutting-edge and offbeat shows known to shock.

Half-off ticket providers
The San Diego Performing Arts League runs the tried-and-true Arts Tix booth at Horton Plaza, a small but mighty hut with fat half-off deals for a wide range of live performances including theater, music and dance. Better yet, they’re the only discount ticket provider that gives 100 percent of its profits back to the arts. Arts Tix also has a branch in Escondido at the San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau. Visit their Web site first to see what’s for sale that day.

Another sweet site for deep discounts is Goldstar.com, which has a large collection of half-off tickets (I’ve seen tickets for as little as $4) for theater performances, as well as sports events, tours and other San Diego happenings.

See all of Junvi Ola’s free or almost free things to do in San Diego at www.diegoonadime.com.