Tickets at No Cost for High School Students

by Brian Polak, Boston Court’s Marketing & Communications Manager

I attended the Theatre Communications Group‘s Annual Conference last summer and learned something amazing: high school students are interested in live theatre. (I thought all they wanted to do was go to the mall and sexting.)

Seriously though, I attended a session with students who participate in Steppenwolf’s Young Adult Council and Berkeley Rep’s Teen Council and it was the most inspiring event of the entire conference for me. These students dispelled many myths we theatre producers often believe.  The first is that their attention spans are too short for theatre. We always assume because the youth of America are watching short Funny or Die videos, they couldn’t possibly sustain their attention for an entire play. (I watch plenty of Funny or Die and can still sit through plays, why couldn’t somebody half my age?)

The other myth they dispelled was that they can’t connect to adult material. I hate to say this is a myth I believed. I wrongly assumed students wanted to see plays about kids their age and that plays like God of Carnage or Stuff Happens would be a bore. (Let me state this now: I understand I listened to a select group of high school students and they may not represent all high school students. I also recognize many adults find God of Carnage and Stuff Happens boring.) What the students told a group of about thirty adult theatre-makers was that they wanted to be engaged artistically.  I thought that’s all I want as well.  Then, after the session ended, I had a pretty standard five minute discussion with one of these students about a play from Radar LA and I realized I’ve been pretty shortsighted. Many of us have.

These students are hungry for knowledge and experience.  They want to be exposed to more theatre. They want to engage in the form. They want what I want. They’re just a younger version of me. That day I wrote a note to myself that said “Don’t patronize the youth. Remove barriers.” Then I went back to work and started to think about what we could do about this.

It’s pretty clear a major barrier keeping students from attending live theatre is the cost. Boston Court has strived for the past several years to provide discounted opportunities, but we recognize even a five-dollar ticket can be difficult for high school students. So we decided to start offering cost-free rush tickets to any current high school student.  It’s not quite the amazing programs being run at Berkeley or Steppenwolf. But it’s a start. And it’s an opportunity for the students in the Pasadena and Los Angeles areas to see theatre at no cost as well as be exposed to a style of theatre they may not normally have the opportunity to see.

This program will begin with the world premiere production of The Children, by Michael Elyanow and directed by Jessica Kubzansky.  The production is scheduled to run from Saturday, May 12 through Sunday, June 10. Previews begin Thursday, May 3.

Students are required to provide a current school-issued ID. There is a one ticket limit per student, pending availability.

I’m hopeful area students will take advantage of this opportunity and that it may perhaps evolve into something as awesome as what’s going on in the Bay Area and the Windy City.

In summary:

  • Any unsold seat will be made available to any current high school student at no charge.
  • This program begins as soon as we start previews for our next production, The Children.
  • Funny or Die is good. And so is live theatre.

16 responses to “Tickets at No Cost for High School Students

  1. This is very exciting and I will be sure to share this with our Teen Council members (who will be thrilled!) Good luck with your new program!


  2. Teen here, stopping in to say that this is awesome! This kind of thinking shows that you really seem to get us. It might be hard to get the ball rolling, but I hope your program finds great success. Thanks for believing in us!


  3. Wonderful news!


  4. I will spread it around to my school networks. Love the idea.


  5. Some more teens here, dropping in to say that we’re so excited about this post and your program — thank you for sharing this! It’s true: we’re basically just smaller adults looking for a relevant and engaging artistic experience. We’ve been to so many theaters where we get odd looks for being the only teens in an audience of older people, so seeing public support of teen audiences (coming from theaters themselves!) is very exciting and reassuring. Wishing you the best with your free rush ticket program, and supporting you all the way from up in the Bay!


  6. Terrific program! Perhaps it will be catching and other arts organizations will adopt it, as well. (Are you listening, LA Phil?)


  7. Great!


  8. I know I’m late on the uptake, but this is awesome. Way to go. Will be sharing the news.


  9. Hi Brian

    Just wondering how the pick-up on this programme is going?

    And do any students bring their (paying!) parents?


  10. Pingback: NOTHIN' but DRAMA! » PMTP Senior Company students take note!

  11. Love it. Sad you didn’t get the chance to meet the students CTG brought to the conference– they were rad! We loved hanging out with Steppenwolf, La Jolla Playhouse and Berkeley Rep teens during TCG.


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