Northlight Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (Photo courtesy of North Shore Center / HANDOUT)

Northlight Theatre Launches ‘Arts for Everyone’ Program

In a bid to increase access, program will provide blocks of free tickets to every show in the 2018-19 season to break down barriers to theatre and to diversify audiences.

CHICAGO: Northlight Theatre has announced a new initiative, “Arts for Everyone,” aimed at breaking down barriers to accessing theatre so that it can reach a broader, more diverse audience. In partnership with various community partners, Northlight will offer a block of free tickets to every production in the theatre’s upcoming 2018-19 season, starting with the season opener Curve of Departure in September.

“This breakthrough program addresses Northlight’s commitment toward equitable access for all audiences to experience theatre without the barriers of price and privilege,” said executive director Timothy J. Evans in a statement. “We are inaugurating this unique program with our long-standing community partners, thus strengthening their organizations’ missions and ours. For those people within these important social service groups, access to free theatre and the conversations they inspire will be transformative.”

Northlight teaching artist Kaiser Ahmed and participants in Northlight’s Family Focus program. (Photo courtesy of Cathy Taylor)

Northlight’s current community partners are Y.O.U. (Youth & Opportunity United), YWCA Evanston/North Shore, and Family Focus. These partners will eventually expand to include the Evanston and Skokie Public Libraries. Each partner builds bridges through theatre, utilizing a theatre-related program that serves the mission of each organization, and will be granted full and free access to performances of any production open to availability in the coming Northlight season, with the exception of opening and closing performances.

Tickets can be requested by members of the organization in advance, starting shortly before the run starts, and must be requested at least three days in advance. Each participating organization will be allowed up to 40 tickets for the run of each of the five productions over the course of the season. Because it is a new program in its pilot stage, there may be changes to the process of obtaining tickets over time.

The Davee Foundation is a major supporter of “Arts for Everyone,” and the Barn Steakhouse will also provide support to the initiative, with the latter hosting a “Barnyard Barbecue” on Aug. 19 that will benefit “Arts for Everyone.” Tickets for the barbecue are available at backtoschoolbbqatthebarn.brownpapertickets.com.

“This program demonstrates Northlight’s commitment to community building, and what better way than to extend this kind of welcome,” said Northlight trustee and Evanston resident Katy Okrent in a statement. “It’s easy to say that you believe in diversity and accessibility, but Northlight is acting on its belief with this new initiative. We hate to think that the cost of a ticket could stand in the way of someone experiencing the wonder and wisdom of a great play. Theatre tells the stories of everyone and our hope is that everyone gets to hear them.”