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Northlight Theatre today announced a new “Arts for Everyone” program to provide free tickets to every production in its 2018-19 season to partner groups, with a goal of breaking down barriers to accessing theater performances.

Northlight will pilot this program with existing partners including Youth & Opportunity United, YWCA Evanston/North Shore and Family Focus, and eventually plans to expand it to the Evanston and Skokie Public Libraries.

In a news release, Northlight Executive Director Timothy Evans said the program “addresses Northlight’s commitment toward equitable access for all audiences to experience theater without the barriers of price and privilege.”

Northlight will kick off the program with the first production of the new season, “Curve of Departure,” which begins performances on Sept. 13.  All performances are at the theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie.

Northlight’s existing community partnerships have built bridges through theatre arts, using customized theatre-related programs to serve the missions of each organization.

Katy Okrent, Northlight Trustee and Evanston resident, says, “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. Theater tells the stories of everyone and our hope is that everyone gets to hear them.”  

JoAnn Avery, a program coordinator at Family Focus, says Northlight has given “our Grandparents Support Group a voice to tell their stories. They have so much confidence and definitely feel better about themselves.””

Casey Varela, manager of strategic partnerships at Y.O.U. says, “Northlight’s Speak Up! program over the past three years has been greatly beneficial to the youth from Y.O.U.’s elementary sites. The program has given youth the opportunity to identify and explore difficult issues effecting themselves, their families, and their communities and a creative outlet in which to express themselves.”

The Davee Foundation is a major supporter of “Arts for Everyone.” Support also comes from The Barn Steakhouse of Evanston, hosting a “Barnyard Barbecue” from 3 to 7 p.m., on Sunday, Aug. 19, at the rear of 1016 Church St. in Evanston. Tickets are available online.

Community organizations interested in developing a partnership with Northlight can contact Mara Stern, director of education and community engagement,  at 847-324-1607 or mstern@northlight.org.

Now entering its 44th season, Northlight has mounted over 200 productions, including nearly 40 world premieres.

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