According to the Going Out Gurus, there will be no Free Night of Theatre for the Washington, DC area. This year the city was dropped from 2010 slate of cities that will give away free tickets to local productions. According to program organizers, there will be no free tickets in the DC area due to, “limited staffing.” The Free Night website does have Annapolis and Baltimore listed in this year’s free performance offerings.
I’m very disappointed to hear this news, I was excited when I learned about the annual event last year and I think it’s a great way to help get others to discover the theatre scene in DC. The GOG Blog asks, if this is a huge loss and cites bugs with execution of last year’s event and the plethora of “pay-what-you-can” performances that area theatres already provide.
I say yes, it is a loss.
As an area Stage Manager and watcher of theatre for We Love DC I’m not the target demographic that the program is aiming for but I think that programs like FNOT is what we need to help make the Arts more accessible to a young professional population in DC that graduated from schools where the arts budgets have been slashed and whose idea of drama is an episode of The Hills.
Performing Arts for this crowd isn’t much of an entertainment option. A ticket to a show is often more expensive than a movie ticket and the experience is often perceived as a more affluent activity. Of course as someone that’s active in the community locally I can say that’s not the case, but we need to get people into the theatre to prove it. That’s why efforts to drive down the cost of admission are key in inciting others to give theatre a try, and hopefully help expose them to a wonderful and vibrant theatre scene right in their own neighborhood.
Is DC’s Theatre Scene going to suffer because of a lack of FNOT? Of course not. But I do think it’s a minor blow to the ongoing effort to reach out to new audiences.