Saturday, August 10, 2013

Free For All is Almost Here!

From our friends at the Shakespeare Theatre Company...

William Shakespeare's
Much Ado About Nothing
directed by Jenny Lord
original direction by Ethan McSweeny
August 20—September 1, 2013
Showtimes vary
Sidney Harman Hall

The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Free For All is a much-loved Washington tradition, offering free performances of a Shakespearean classic to the general public. STC is thrilled to kick off our 27th season with Much Ado About Nothing.

Each summer, with the help of numerous community-minded sponsors, the Shakespeare Theatre Company presents a series of free Shakespeare performances. Started in 1991 to bring free Shakespeare to new and diverse audiences in the Washington metropolitan area, the Free For All presented Shakespeare under the stars at the Carter Barron Amphitheater. In an effort to make Shakespeare completely accessible for all residents of D.C. Metro area, the Free For All was brought to downtown D.C. in 2009 and now resides at the Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall. To date, the Free For All has reached more than 560,000 area residents and counting.

Students for Shakespeare, launched in 1996, has attracted thousands of area public school students to the Free For All by providing transportation and free t-shirts, fun books and drawings for scholarship savings bonds. The Shakespeare Theatre Company Free For All's unique contribution to the community was recognized with The Washington Post Distinguished Service Award in 1992 and the 1997 Public Humanities Award presented by the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company Free For All is a highlight of Washington's theatre season, a traditional outing that attracts the city's most diverse audience. Championed by Kahn and Shakespeare Theatre Company founding chairman R. Robert Linowes, and made possible with invaluable support from The Washington Post, Philip L. Graham Fund and a committed group of community-minded sponsors, the Free For All proved an enormous success its first year, attracting more than 2,500 theatre goers each night. Succeeding summers have seen the Free For All build on its early promise, with audiences flocking to see some of Shakespeare's greatest plays—All’s Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Henry V and King Lear—performed by the Shakespeare Theatre Company's actors and such guest artists as Sabrina LeBeauf, Kelly McGillis and Harry Hamlin.

Former Chair of the National Endowment of the Arts Jane Alexander, a frequent attendee at Free For All productions, enthuses about the program's importance to Washington: "I remember once when I was at the Free For All, there was a couple sitting next to me with a very, very young child, and I began to talk to them and I asked: 'Why are you here?' And they said, 'Where else would we have the opportunity to introduce our child to Shakespeare and be able to afford it?'"

Alexander sums up the sentiments shared by Kahn, the Shakespeare Theatre Company and the many generous individuals, foundations and corporations who make the Free For All possible each year: "The Free For All is a wonderful success for everybody involved ... not just for the Shakespeare Theatre Company, but for the entire city."

Past Free For All Productions:

    2012: All’s Well That Ends Well
    2011: Julius Caesar
    2010: Twelfth Night
    2009: The Taming of the Shrew
    2008: Hamlet
    2007: Love's Labor's Lost
    2006: Pericles
    2005: A Midsummer Night's Dream
    2004: Much Ado about Nothing
    2003: Hamlet
    2002: The Two Gentlemen of Verona
    2001: King Lear
    2000: The Merchant of Venice
    1999: The Merry Wives of Windsor
    1998: All's Well That Ends Well
    1997: Henry V
    1996: Measure for Measure
    1995: Twelfth Night
    1994: Comedy of Errors
    1993: Much Ado about Nothing
    1992: As You Like It
    1991: The Merry Wives of Windsor

5 ways to get tickets:

Tickets for each performance of Much Ado About Nothing will be made available to the public on the day of the show by visiting Sidney Harman Hall as well as through an online lottery system. To receive more information about the lottery, sign up to receive email notifications.  Seating is general admission. If you would like specific seats please arrive early. We open the doors to the theatre a half an hour before the start of the show.

Become a Subscriber:
All 2013-2014 Season Subscribers have the ability to reserve seats in advance. Each subscriber can reserve two (2) Free For All tickets for every subscription seat they hold and have the ability to exchange their tickets.
Join Friends of Free For All:
Gifts starting at $200 allow Friends to secure reserved seating in advance, receive program recognition and access our Patrons Lounge which includes complimentary beverages and snacks!

Enter the Online Lottery:
For each performance, a select number of seats are given away to lucky lottery winners.

The lottery for each performance will be open from 12:01am to 8:00pm on the day PRIOR to an evening performance and TWO DAYS PRIOR to a matinee performance. For example, any time after midnight and before 8:00pm on Thursday, you will be able to enter the lottery for both the Friday evening performance and the Saturday matinee performance.

Winners will be chosen at random. The time you enter the lottery has no bearing on your chances of winning. Only one entry per account will be considered for the drawing. All entrants will receive an email after 8:00 p.m. the night before the performance.  We use an online email system called WordFly, and it may take a few hours before you receive your email depending on your own systems refresh time.

Get in line instead of online:
Every day STC will give away up to 200 tickets to the public in our Ticket Line at Sidney Harman Hall beginning approximately two (2) hours prior to curtain. Limit is two (2) tickets per person.  Remember to get there early! The line usually starts forming around 4:00 p.m. for evening shows and around 10:00 a.m. for matinee performances.

Follow STC on Social Media:
Our Facebook and Twitter fans can tell you from experience that we like giving stuff away. Start following STC and keep an eye out for chances to secure VIP seating for the Free For All!

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions

Free For All 2013 Schedule of performances
2:00  August 24-25, 31 and September 1
7:30  August 20-21, 25, 27-28 and September 1
8:00  August 22-24, 29-31