The View From the Cheap Seats: Great Theater Bargains for Young People

Tickets to Shakespeare’s plays in the 1500s and 1600s are said to have cost a penny. Now they cost a lot more, which might be one of the reasons Washington’s theater audiences are missing a younger demographic. In an effort to tame this shrew of a problem, several theaters are starting cheap-ticket initiatives to entice the younger crowd.

Arena Stage
1101 Sixth St., SW; 202-488-3300;
It may not be quite as low as a penny, but Arena Stage offers a pretty good deal for the 21st century—$10 tickets to patrons 30 and younger. Tickets go on sale beginning Monday for the rest of the week’s performances.

Catalyst Theater Company
545 Seventh St., SE; 800-494-8497;
This deal’s not just for young people: Every Romeo, Juliet, and Othello out there—of any age, whether a student or not—can take in a play at Catalyst for only $10.

Olney Theatre Center
2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., Olney; 301-924-3400;
Love seems to be the unifying element in just about every play I’ve seen. Comedy, tragedy, musical—theater seems to revolve around love. So if you’re in love, what a perfect place for a date. And if you’re young and in love and you love to cash in on deals, theater is the place to be. At Olney Theatre Center, students receive discounts starting at $5, except Saturdays; $10 “rush” tickets available the day of performance.

Round House Theatre
4545 East-West Hwy., Bethesda; 8641 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring; 240-644-1100;
Unlike Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Round House’s two theaters aren’t actually round—but the ticket deals are true. Theatergoers 25 and under can get $25 tickets to Round House productions. There’s also a matinee program for students and teachers with several 10 AM performances. Call 301-585-1225 to register.

Shakespeare Theatre Company
Lansburgh Theatre, 450 Seventh St., NW; Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St., NW; 202-547-1122;
If you’re 35 or younger, you can pick up $10 tickets starting at 10 AM every Tuesday at the Harman box office. In this new initiative, known as 20/10, the theater will release 20 pairs of $10 tickets for performances through the following Sunday—excluding Friday and Saturday evenings. To launch the program, on October 30 the entire November 6 performance of Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine will sell for $10 a ticket. Another initiative, Shakespearience, seeks to draw students and teachers with workshops and subsidized tickets. The company also offers full-time students $10 preview-week tickets and $10 rush tickets.

Signature Theatre
4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington; 703-820-9771;
Signature gives students a 10-percent discount on performances, and rush tickets are available 30 minutes before performances: $20 for musicals, $10 for plays.

Studio Theatre
1501 14th St., NW; 202-332-3300;
Studio Theatre offers students a $5 discount on tickets as well as half-price rush tickets 30 minutes before a show begins.

Theater Alliance
1365 H St., NE; 866-811-4111;
You don’t have to live in London or Stratford-upon-Avon to see good theater, but if you want a free ticket, you have to live within five blocks of Theater Alliance’s H Street Playhouse. The theater offers free tickets to anyone living within these boundaries; it also extends the offer to Gallaudet University students.

Washington Shakespeare Company
601 S. Clark St., Arlington; 800-494-8497;
The three witches in Macbeth were pretty good with predictions, but could they have forseen WSC’s cast performing the play nude this past summer? Could they also have forecasted the sweet ticket deals? Students get a $5 discount on evening performances Thursday through Sunday. Saturday matinees are pay-what-you-can.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
641 D St., NW; 202-393-3939;
Want a mammoth deal? Theater patrons 25 and under can purchase tickets to all Woolly productions for $15. The theater also offers a pay-what-you-can deal, usually Mondays or Tuesdays 90 minutes before the performance.

More from Things to Do