Photo by Maria Miller

In an impressive outreach program designed to introduce theater to future audiences, more than 40 theaters and acting companies are providing one or two free youth tickets (under 18) with any paid adult admission, but only for the week of February 15–21. As part of the second annual Kids’ Week at the Theater festivities, co-sponsored by ASK Theater Projects and Theater L.A., underserved youngsters have the chance to see productions ranging from the Ahmanson’s tony Titanic, to the Latino comedy Guantanamera! at the Bilingual Foundation for the Arts, to Santa Monica Playhouse’s absurdist children’s romp Little Red Riding Hood. Last year, only members of Theater L.A. were invited to offer productions. So great was the response that the organizers have opened it up this year to any willing producing organization in the Los Angeles area, and theater providers have come through with an enormous array of live performances.

Though fully mounted productions are the event’s mainstay, the co-sponsors have widened the range of offerings into a much larger arts festival. Last year, the guidelines for participation were based strictly on the model of an NYC version of Kids’ Week, in which only theaters with productions already on their docket could be included. But the energy from last year’s festival inspired many artists to create special productions or revive former productions to be part of the gala. Distinct performances are being created for Kids’ Week by major youth theaters such as We Tell Stories, who are performing in concert with the Los Angeles Public Library. Even companies unable to mount actual productions specifically for the week are anxious to be part of the festivities. L.A.’s edgy Circle X and Open Fist theater companies have joined forces to offer a clowning workshop.

ASK director Kym Eisner says that Kids’ Week is just one part of the organization’s push to reach out to the community. “Now it is focused on the creation of new theater and its audiences,” she explains. “I hope in three years, every theater in town will participate in some form. By that time, there will be free tickets available for every kid who wants one. We’d especially like to reach kids who have never been to the theater before.”

For further information about this year’s participating performances, call the Kids’ Week at the Theater hot line: (310) 281-1910.

LA Weekly