The Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) has launched FREE WILL, an initiative to distribute 1,000 free tickets to every mainstage production of its 2014–2015 season. This program expands the mission of the annual Free For All to make theater completely accessible for all residents of the Washington, D.C., Metro area. FREE WILL launches with the currently running As You Like It, and will continue through the season, building up to summer 2015 and the celebration of the 25th annual Free For All performance.
“Since beginning Free For All in 1991, our goal has been to offer free Shakespeare productions to as wide of an audience as possible, and to make them accessible to diverse audiences—people who have never been to the theater, people who are unable to pay for tickets, young people, students, people on fixed incomes,” STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn said in a press release. “I am thrilled that with this new program we will be making them even more accessible throughout the year.”
With As You Like It already partially through its run, STC will provide as many free tickets to the production as possible through its Dec. 14 closing. Beginning with The Tempest, 1,000 total tickets will be given away free of charge to every mainstage STC production, on average 150–200 tickets per week, on as many show days as possible. The program excludes presentations and the limited engagement of Dunsinane.
Tickets will be made available in person, online, and over the phone every Monday at noon for the performances that week and distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis completely free of charge until they run out. After they run out, STC will continue to offer its other low-cost ticket options including Under 35 discounts, $25 rush tickets, and the $20 tickets already available for all performances. For each production, a portion of the FREE WILL tickets will also be distributed via community partners to their constituents and members, such as through Ward Offices, schools, or other nonprofits. The FREE WILL community partner for As You Like It is the Community Club.
“We are proud of the artistically minded community in Washington, and want to encourage this community to grow,” STC Managing Director Chris Jennings said in the release. “We know that when a city has active participation in the arts, there is a ripple effect throughout the community. With FREE WILL, we strive to open our doors to those who do not, or feel they cannot, see theater and therefore grow the number of people who habitually attend performances in the future.”
FREE WILL ticket distribution began this week, and a new batch of tickets will be released each Monday during the run of each show throughout the 2014–2015 season. For more information, patrons can call the Box Office at 202-547-1122 or visit ShakespeareTheatre.org/FREEWILL.
November 18, 2014