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Free Night of Theater Returns!

by Stephen Becker 25 Sep 2009 7:04 AM

Last fall, Dallas theaters took part in the national Free Night of Theater program for the first time. All the tickets were gone in a single day. What’s more, the plan worked: Many people who got free tickets bought their own theater tickets later on. So we’re happy to bring you the Free Night of Theater: The Sequel.



Art&Seek is happy to partner with the Office of Cultural of Affairs to help you take advantage of Free Night of Theater2009. In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting a guide to what’s available to help you pick the show best for you. And we’ll keep you up to date as new shows are added. Keep reading for a primer on this year’s event:

  • KERA Radio story:
  • Expanded online version:

If you comp them, they will come.

That’s the idea behind Free Night of Theater, which lets theaters give away tickets to their shows on select nights.

Last year, some 5,000 tickets were given away by Dallas theaters, mighty fast. And the strategy seems to have worked.

Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs Director Maria Munoz-Blanco says that nearly half of those who picked up a free ticket last year came back and bought a ticket to another performance.

BLANCO: “There’s a lot of great theater in our community, and if we can get people to go, check it out, try it once, I think the likelihood of people returning is pretty high.”

About 20 theaters are offering tickets this year. One of the reasons for the program’s success is that the groups band together to create a buzz about theater.

Undermain Theatre gave away tickets last year and will do so again this year. The company’s artistic director, Katherine Owens, compares Free Night of Theater to the famous Got Milk ads. No individual dairies are mentioned, but all of them benefit.

OWENS: “This is a perfect example of good sector-based advertising, where people say, ‘Free night of theater’ Not my theater, your theater, or another theater. But Free Night of Theater.”

Last year, all of the tickets were released in one day. That led to a high number of no-shows.

This year, there will be five giveaways. Tickets will be released on Mondays for performances the following weekend.

You’ll be able to reserve those tickets beginning October 5 by visiting the Free Night of Theater Web site.

Visit the Art&Seek blog for a list of participating theaters, their shows and free dates.