PortTIX was founded in February of 1997 and opened as the box office for the newly renovated (and renamed) Merrill Auditorium. The Auditorium (formerly known as City Hall Auditorium) was in desperate need of renovation, struggling with issues such as outdated seating arrangements, no formal box office, and even an issue with pigeons living backstage and in the dressing rooms. These issues and more would all be solved with the major renovation that the auditorium that took place between 1995 and 1997.
An article in Casco Bay Weekly from the February PortTIX opened quotes part of the management team for the newly renovated Merrill, Frank LaTorre, who described what the hall was to become:
From the symphony to graduations, from the opera to political speakers, from organ recitals to meetings of civic and business groups, creating a vibrant community center will be the main objective.
As we now know, over 25 years later, LaTorre’s vision has come true, with this beautiful hall greatly enriching Portland’s arts scene.
PortTIX was established to be the box office for the newly renovated Merrill Auditorium when construction was completed in February of 1997. We were created by the Portland Symphony Orchestra and Portland Ovations (at the time known as PCA Great Performances) in order to offer a cohesive ticketing experience for themselves, as well as for Merrill and the City’s other venues. This makes PortTIX, run by two non-profit organizations and with a close working relationship with local government, a truly unique small business!
We now work with a half dozen local organizations selling tickets at just as many venues across Greater Portland. In addition to PSO, Portland Ovations, and the Kotzschmar Organ, PortTIX has been the official ticketing partner for Portland Ballet since 2021 and Portland Conservatory of Music since 2023. We have also been providing ticketing services for OperaMaine’s annual mainstage performance in July, and Maine State Ballet’s annual Nutcracker performances here at Merrill.