Address: 1101 Sixth St. SW
How to get there: Take the GUTS bus to Rosslyn, then the Blue, Silver, or Orange line to L’Enfant Plaza. From there, walk about 15 minutes: Go down 7th Street until you reach Maine Avenue and take a left. You’ll be on the backside of the building; the entrance is on Sixth Street.
Price: Varies, but students get 35 percent off, and there’s a “Pay Your Age” program for people under 30 years old.
COVID-19 Protocol: Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 antigen test within 6 hours of the performance required (at home tests not accepted); masks required.
There is a grand glass-paneled building awaiting audiences on Maine Avenue: Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. The complex includes three performance spaces—Fichandler Stage (in-the-round), the Kreeger Theater (proscenium, or a typical-looking theatrical arch that one might find in most auditoriums), and the smaller Arlene and Robert Kogood Cradle. Championing the education and development of artists, this complex is home to many immaculate state-of-the-art productions, including 22 that have made their way to Broadway. These include huge names such as Tony Award-winning Dear Evan Hansen, Lynn Nottage’s Sweat (which won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), and Next to Normal (which also won the Pulitzer, in 2010). Arena’s mission statement says it “is the voice of American theater resident in our nation’s capital,” and it certainly lives up to that goal. Some sure-to-be-hits this season include Toni Stone (running through Oct. 3), Celia and Fidel (running Oct. 8 through Nov. 11), and August Wilson’s Seven Guitars (running Nov. 26 through Dec. 26).
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Address: 641 D St. NW
How to get there: Take the GUTS bus to Dupont, then the Red line to Gallery Place. From there, walk about five minutes down 7th Street and turn left on D Street.
Price: $20 tickets for anyone under 30 years old; some nights are “Pay-What-You-Will-Nights” (you pay what you can for the performance).
COVID-19 Protocol: Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the performance required; wear a mask at all times and practice social distancing in the lobby.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company emphasizes new work, seeing theater as a catalyst for social change and equity. It’s a space that centers diversity and considers itself “radically inclusive”—an important part of its mission is to practice anti-racism and work to dismantle systems of oppression. The company uses a unique sort of venue, a 265-seat courtyard-style theater, offering an intimate and present setting. Now in its 42nd season, the company is putting on a full slate of innovative and exciting in-person performances. Standouts include Teenage Dick (a Richard III retelling set in high school that runs through Oct. 17), the 2020 Pulitzer Prize-winning A Strange Loop (running Nov. 22 through Jan. 2), and a fully-staged operatic retelling of Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower (running in 2022).
Address: 2020 Shannon Pl. SE
How to get there: Take the GUTS bus to Rosslyn, the Blue, Silver, or Orange line to L’Enfant Plaza, and the Green line to Anacostia OR take the GUTS bus to Dupont, the Red line to Gallery Place, and the Green line to Anacostia
Price: Varies, about $25 for students
COVID-19 Protocol: Patrons are required to be fully vaccinated with certain exemptions (but those people must give proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours); masks required at all times, unless you are eating or drinking. Vaccinations required for performers and staff.
The Anacostia Playhouse—formerly the H Street Playhouse—is one of the only theaters in Ward 8, which is 90 percent Black and critically underserved in both art and essential services. Through partnerships with local schools, renting out space to community artists and performers, and their own productions, the theater aims to highlight the stories of those who live around it. Recent productions include Black Nativity and Africa-Dabra, which explores the stories of famous Black magicians through live magic. Audiences can also get a behind-the-scenes view of shows the Playhouse is considering putting on by attending readings from their “First Look” series. After COVID-19, the theater is reopening with a block party Sept. 24-26 featuring live readings, performances, and community building. Though it’s a bit further from campus, Anacostia Playhouse is one of the few theaters actively highlighting community artists, which makes the trip worthwhile.
Address: 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington, VA
How to get there: Take the GUTS bus to Rosslyn, the Blue line to Pentagon, and the 7Y bus to Shirlington Station. Or take an Uber if the low ticket prices make it worth it!
Price: $5 for students for any Signature Features production; you have to reserve over the phone: (703) 820-9771
COVID-19 Protocol: Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the performance needed, as well as a temperature check and screening; masks required at all times. Performers and staff are required to be vaccinated and to test regularly.
Signature is one of the best professional theaters in the area, focusing on contemporary works and reimaginings of classics. They often are able to put on performances featuring some of the actors who debuted the roles, and their technical expertise is nearly unmatched. During the pandemic, they put on one of the best virtual shows, Midnight at the Never Get, a haunting exploration of love and reality for two queer artists in the 1960s. If you’re craving a classic theater experience with a small twist, this is a perfect place to look. This season, they’ll be putting on Rent, Daphne’s Dive, and She Loves Me. They’re sure to go back in person with a bang, so be on the lookout for tickets!
Shakespeare Theatre Company
Address: Sidney Harman Hall is located at 610 F St. NW; Michael R. Klein Theatre is located two blocks away at 450 7th St. NW
How to get there: Take the GUTS bus to Dupont, then take the Red line towards Glenmont to Gallery Place. Walk two or three blocks down 7th Street (depending on which theatre you are attending).
Price: The STC offers $35 tickets to patrons under 35 years of age, there are also often discounted tickets available for $20, AND there are Free For All and Free Will performances at low or no cost!
COVID-19 Protocol: Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 48 hours of the performance needed; masks required when not actively eating or drinking. Performers and staff are required to be vaccinated.
Originating from the Folger Shakespeare Library (you know, the one that produces probably every copy of Shakespeare you’ve ever had to buy for AP Lit), the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) is one of the premier classical theatres in the nation. The theatre focuses on interpreting the plays of Shakespeare for the contemporary American audience, while still retaining the profound feeling and lyricism of the original works. If you’re an established Shakespeare fan, anything produced by the STC is sure to stir your heart and satisfy your cravings. If you’re more of a Shakespeare skeptic, like I am, the STC may change your mind. The direction is unique and lively, and the production is somehow both crisply high-quality and lushly immersive. In recent years, the STC has broadened their horizons. While there are still classics—the likes of Aeschylus, Molière, and (in a more modern vein) Stoppard—more and more new, original works have been produced. This fall, Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, co-written and directed by Georgetown’s own director of the Theatre & Performance Studies Program Derek Goldman, tells the story of a former Georgetown professor who sought to alert the U.S. government to Nazi atrocities during the Holocaust. Karski might be familiar to you as the statue next to White Gravenor of the man playing chess. The STC seeks to produce high-quality performances, reflecting the universality of human experience in classic theatre and the modern world.