If you’re a student arriving in PVD for the first time, or one who’s grown up here but wants to make theater a part of their college life, you’ve come to the right place.
And by the right place, I mean Motif, and this article in particular, because I’m going to give you the rundown about what to see and how to see it without breaking the bank. (You’re going to need your cash for ramen, right? I’ve been out of college for over a decade, so I’m assuming ramen and that guy down the hall who explains the plot of The Usual Suspects to everyone is still a thing.)
Buzzfeed has assured me that lists are still the best way to convey information, so I’m going to give you everything you need to know numerically without any clickbait promising a look at how badly the cast of “The Suite Life” has aged.
Here we go.
Tips for Becoming a College Theater Fan in Rhode Island Without Going Broke
- Pay-What-You-Cans are your new best friend. Most-if-not-all theaters offer them, and they’re usually the same day of every run (some theaters have them at the very beginning of previews, and others will schedule them on a less-popular night, like a Thursday). Head to your favorite theater’s website and mark down the PWYC’s for each one on your calendar so you’re never wondering what to see when.
- If for some reason you can’t make a PWYC, your next best bet is ushering. A lot of the smaller theaters in the area are always looking for front-of-house help, and helping out has the added benefit of letting you meet some of the theater’s staff, which is useful if you’re looking to do some theater yourself.
- Make theater friends. Some of my best memories of college are seeing performances with my fellow students. Theater can be a great centerpiece for a memorable night out. Plan out who’s going to drive, where you’re going to eat after the show (not before, unless your generation is better at ordering quickly than mine was), and what trendy bar you’re going to hit up post-performance to discuss what you saw. (I prefer some karaoke at the Boombox after seeing just about anything downtown, but to each his own.)
- When it comes to driving, we’re lucky to live in a state where just about every theater is less than half an hour away from pretty much anywhere, but if you’re going downtown, parking is also something to consider. If you’re like me, you’re not a fan of paying to park, so consider finding a spot on the west side, eating dinner there, and then taking a leisurely walk into the city. Just about every theater outside of PVD has its own parking lot or street parking, and that’s just one more reason to love living here.
- When your parents come to town, theater is a great way to entertain them, and since they might feel inclined to buy you dinner while they’re here, call up the theater and ask them which restaurants they recommend. Providence has become known for its food scene in addition to its thriving arts community, so why not merge them and make the guardians feel even better about where you’ve chosen to spend the best years of your life?
- If you’re looking to get involved in theater, you’re in luck. There are plenty of places to get onstage here in the Ocean State. Most theaters have general auditions where they cast an entire season, but some go show-to-show, which might be easier if you’re trying to juggle school and acting or working behind the scenes in the community. Don’t be afraid to Like all the Facebook pages you can find for theaters that seem interesting to you, then ask them when they typically hold auditions.
- Charity starts at home, and theater-going starts right where you are. The colleges and universities in RI produce top-notch theater productions, which means some of the best theater you’re likely to see is probably right on your very own campus. Head over to the theater department and take note of not only their season, but what guest artists they might be bringing in as part of a performing arts series. You’re likely to get a big discount on both.
This is just a quick to-do list for how to see theater here, but the more you see, the easier it’ll be to figure out how to make a theater a part of your college experience.
And keep picking up Motif to find out which shows we think you should check out.
Oh, we’re also always looking for reviewers, and I hear reviewers get free tickets to press nights where there’s sometimes free food, so don’t be afraid to let us know if you want to try your hand at writing about what you see.
Have fun, and I’ll see you at the theater.