Playhouse Brings Thousands of Students to Pirates

Featured Blog Post by Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman

This year we launched Community@Play with the aim to expand the boundaries of the community we serve. Throughout the season, we will provide free tickets to students and constituents of all ages by partnering with schools and social service organizations. By removing the cost barrier, we open our doors and welcome new audiences who will invigorate our theater. Already the program is having an impact on the makeup of our audience. And more importantly, introducing many to the experience of live theater.


The contemporary interpretation of our current production, Pirates of Penzance, encourages our audience to recapture something from their childhood: a sense of whimsy and pure unabashed silliness. Making it a perfect production to reach young people with, and shatter a dated view of theater. The creativity and innovative production design could teach us all how to look at things in new ways.


What if we could bring A LOT of young people to experience this? More than we ever dreamed of?


Enter Rich Webster and his family’s foundation. We met and shared an instant connection when talking about doing something big for our community. We talked about expanding our program and he said: “what if we could bring an entire grade of our public schools?” I loved this idea. This led us to our friends at Pasadena Unified School District and the Pasadena Education Foundation. Working together, we selected a grade level that was most appropriate.


I am happy to report that every 7th-grader in the district will attend a matinee performance of Pirates of Penzance. This is very exciting! It means that by the time this class graduates middle school, every student will be exposed to at least one live theater performance — cultivating an interest and appreciation for the arts.


This measurable impact is the type of work we strive for at the Playhouse. Student by student, play by play, we can enrich our community and expand the reach of our work.


As we endeavor to fulfill our mission, which is to use theater to enrich the lives of our community, it is imperative to continue to ask what do we mean by “our community”? Through programs like Community@Play, the Playhouse has the opportunity to create a more inclusive and accessible environment for that definition to flourish.