UPDATE: Not at all surprisingly, tickets for eight performances of "Come From Away" scheduled for St. John's this January sold out in short order on Tuesday morning.
The Holy Heart Theatre posted an update on its website just after noon, a little over two hours after ticket sales began.
Many took to social media to express their frustration with individuals buying in bulk and then posting them to local online classified ad websites such as Kijiji, often at a considerable markup. One such advertisement indicated they had tickets to all shows with prices starting at $200 per ticket. Holy Heart Theatre's prices were $117.85, $82.35 and $34.35.
Those hoping to score tickets online were also met with a lengthy queue, website crashes or error messages.
On its Facebook page Tuesday, Opera on the Avalon warned people not to feed the ticket scalpers.
“We are seeing a large occurrence of fraudulent tickets being resold for the benefit shows from "Come From Away." People are selling these tickets from a variety of online sources — Kijiji, Craigslist and other sites that trade in resale tickets. MOST OF THESE TICKETS ARE FAKE! Many of these people buying these tickets will be out hundreds of dollars,” the organization warned.
“Why would anyone risk buying resale tickets? The chances of these tickets being valid are very slim. Even if the tickets are valid, you will have paid a massive markup on the face value. Live theatre has always been about entertainment, enlightenment and discourse. It has provided joy and insights for eons. And, best of all, it creates a sense of community of total strangers who share a magical performance together. Don’t let a few unscrupulous people hijack it so that they can profit by ripping you off.”
Furthermore, Opera on the Avalon noted the reselling of tickets to the charity benefit shows of "Come from Away" is illegal because the contract of sale states these tickets cannot be resold.
“This engagement is to benefit two valuable charities and the six communities that came to the rescue of the 7,000 stranded travellers on Sept 11, 2001. We ask any scalpers to remove their postings ASAP and not resell these tickets. If you don’t want to attend the performance yourself, we are happy to take them off your hands and make them available to someone who wants the money to go to the charities they were intended for. Everyone has the right to make a living, but not by exploiting what was intended to be an event for the good of the greater community at large. Please look into your heart and reconsider this hasty and ill-conceived decision,” Opera on the Avalon said.
This morning’s wicked weather is doing nothing to dissuade people from lining up outside Holy Heart Theatre in search of “Come From Away” tickets.
When tickets for eight benefit shows in St. John’s this coming January went on sale at 10 a.m. this morning, there was already a lineup of people stretching from the theatre’s entrance on Bonaventure Avenue. That line has since extended into the parking lot for the Bussey Arena (Brother O’Hehir Arena).
Tickets were also available online, but there are several reports on social media about the theatre’s e-commerce site crashing or of users being bumped out for no reason.
There is a maximum of 12 tickets per person.