Austin Theatre: Free for All (At Least for a Night)
A national audience development campaign that's offering a free night of theatre on Oct. 20 has cast Austin in a starring role for its national premiere
The first one's free. A time-honored offer in marketing, based on the assumption that if you can just get folks to sample your wares, they'll be so delighted that they'll gladly pay to get more. It gets lots of play with food and cosmetic products, but this month it's getting play with plays. Theatre Communications Group, a national service organization for nonprofit theatres, is launching a new initiative to get more people to see what's going on onstage by letting them see some for free, and it's cast Austin in a starring role in the national premiere. On Thursday, Oct. 20, theatres in Central Texas, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay area will throw open their doors for a big night of free theatre. The idea is to entice people to try something they haven't before, either theatre in general or a theatre they haven't attended before. All anyone has to do to take advantage of the offer is choose a show from the list of participating theatres and make a reservation. It's that simple. And hey, if you're tied up on the 20th, a number of companies are offering rain-check tickets to performances in late October, November, and December. (See the list.)
TCG wanted to give the program a test run with three pilot cities and settled on these three because they're spread out geographically but all have strong theatre communities, with diverse but high-quality stage work and strong service organizations for their area theatres. The local sponsor is the Austin Circle of Theaters, which has lined up 27 performances to choose from, including several in outlying communities such as Georgetown, Bastrop, Leander, Lockhart, and Kerrville. The options range from established dramas. such as A Man for All Seasons. to old-fashioned melodrama to improv at the Hideout and the comedy of Esther's Follies, with a wealth of work by local playwrights, such as Kirk Lynn, Dan Dietz, Steven Tomlinson, and Chad Salvata. Obviously, TCG is hoping this Free Night of Theater will be a big enough success to warrant expansion to cities all across the country and happening every year. So if you like the sound of that, make that call and go see a show.
The free ticket fine print: Limit two tickets per person. All tickets subject to availability. Reservations must be made between Oct. 11-20. Tickets must be picked up at least one hour before showtime, or they may be released.