2014 Free For All

The Winter's Tale

Thank you for joining us for the 24th Annual Free For All! We hope you enjoyed The Winter’s Tale.



Find your photo online

Check out all the fun visitors had at our photo booth or find your face in the crowd from our on-stage photos:

Onstage shots
Photo booth photos

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5 ways to get tickets:
  • Tickets for each performance of The Winter's Tale will be made available to the public on the day of the show by visiting Sidney Harman Hall as well as through an online lottery system. To receive more information about the lottery, sign up to receive email notifications.  Seating is general admission. If you would like specific seats please arrive early. We open the doors to the theatre a half an hour before the start of the show.

    Become a Subscriber
    All 2013-2014 Season Subscribers have the ability to reserve seats in advance. Each subscriber can reserve two (2) Free For All tickets for every subscription seat they hold and have the ability to exchange their tickets.
  • Join Friends of Free For All 
    Gifts starting at $200 allow Friends to secure reserved seating in advance, receive program recognition and access our Patrons Lounge which includes complimentary beverages and snacks!
  • Enter the Online Lottery 
    For each performance, a select number of seats are given away to lucky lottery winners.

    The lottery for each performance will be open from 12:01am to 8:00pm on the day PRIOR to an evening performance and TWO DAYS PRIOR to a matinee performance. For example, any time after midnight and before 8:00pm on Thursday, you will be able to enter the lottery for both the Friday evening performance and the Saturday matinee performance. 

    Winners will be chosen at random. The time you enter the lottery has no bearing on your chances of winning. Only one entry per account will be considered for the drawing. All entrants will receive an email after 8:00 p.m. the night before the performance.  We use an online email system called WordFly, and it may take a few hours before you receive your email depending on your own systems refresh time.
  • Get in line instead of online
    Every day STC will give away up to 200 tickets to the public in our Ticket Line at Sidney Harman Hall beginning approximately two (2) hours prior to curtain. Limit is two (2) tickets per person.  Remember to get there early! The line usually starts forming around 4:00 p.m. for evening shows and around 10:00 a.m. for matinee performances.
  • Follow STC on Social Media
    Our Facebook and Twitter fans can tell you from experience that we like giving stuff away. Start following STC and keep an eye out for chances to secure VIP seating for the Free For All!

The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Free For All is a much-loved Washington tradition, offering free performances of a Shakespearean classic to the general public. STC was  thrilled to kick off our 28th season with The Winter’s Tale.

Each summer, with the help of numerous community-minded sponsors, the Shakespeare Theatre Company presents a series of free Shakespeare performances. Started in 1991 to bring free Shakespeare to new and diverse audiences in the Washington metropolitan area, the Free For All presented Shakespeare under the stars at the Carter Barron Amphitheater. In an effort to make Shakespeare completely accessible for all residents of D.C. Metro area, the Free For All was brought to downtown D.C. in 2009 and now resides at the Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall.  To date, the Free For All has reached more than 572,000 area residents and counting.

Students for Shakespeare, now Citizens for Shakespeare, has helped thousands of area students and community members gain access to Shakespeare’s plays. The Shakespeare Theatre Company Free For All's unique contribution to the community was recognized with The Washington Post Distinguished Service Award in 1992 and the 1997 Public Humanities Award presented by the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company Free For All is a highlight of Washington's theatre season, a traditional outing that attracts the city's most diverse audience. Championed by Kahn and Shakespeare Theatre Company founding chairman R. Robert Linowes, and made possible with invaluable support fromThe Washington Post, Philip L. Graham Fund and a committed group of community-minded sponsors, the Free For All proved an enormous success its first year, attracting more than 2,500 theatregoers each night. Succeeding summers have seen the Free For All build on its early promise, with audiences flocking to see some of Shakespeare's greatest plays—All’s Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Henry Vand King Lear—performed by the Shakespeare Theatre Company's actors and such guest artists as Sabrina LeBeauf, Kelly McGillis and Harry Hamlin.

Former Chair of the National Endowment of the Arts Jane Alexander, a frequent attendee at Free For All productions, enthuses about the program's importance to Washington: "I remember once when I was at the Free For All, there was a couple sitting next to me with a very, very young child, and I began to talk to them and I asked: 'Why are you here?' And they said, 'Where else would we have the opportunity to introduce our child to Shakespeare and be able to afford it?'"
Alexander sums up the sentiments shared by Kahn, the Shakespeare Theatre Company and the many generous individuals, foundations and corporations who make the Free For All possible each year: "The Free For All is a wonderful success for everybody involved ... not just for the Shakespeare Theatre Company, but for the entire city."

Past Free For All Productions

  1. 2013: Much Ado About Nothing
  2. 2012: All’s Well That Ends Well
  3. 2011: Julius Caesar
  4. 2010: Twelfth Night
  5. 2009: The Taming of the Shrew
  6. 2008: Hamlet
  7. 2007: Love's Labor's Lost
  8. 2006: Pericles
  9. 2005: A Midsummer Night's Dream
  10. 2004: Much Ado about Nothing
  11. 2003: Hamlet
  12. 2002: The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  13. 2001: King Lear
  14. 2000: The Merchant of Venice
  15. 1999: The Merry Wives of Windsor
  16. 1998: All's Well That Ends Well
  17. 1997: Henry V
  18. 1996: Measure for Measure
  19. 1995: Twelfth Night
  20. 1994: Comedy of Errors
  21. 1993: Much Ado about Nothing
  22. 1992: As You Like It
  23. 1991: The Merry Wives of Windsor

A celebration in the art of storytelling, the Shakespeare Theatre Company brings back its imaginative and critically acclaimed 2013 production of The Winter’s Tale for the annual Free For All performance. Traveling through time, visiting the austere court at Sicilia and the bright sea shore of Bohemia, two generations rise above torment and obsession in a production hailed as “transcendent” (Washingtonian) and “visually arresting and tenderly wrought” (Washington Post).

Synopsis

In the royal court of Sicilia, King Leontes, with his expectant wife Hermione and son Mamillius, prepares to say farewell to Leontes’ visiting boyhood friend, King Polixenes of Bohemia. When Hermione is able to persuade Polixenes to remain in Sicilia after her husband cannot, Leontes convinces himself that Hermione and Polixenes are having an affair. Consumed with irrational jealousy, Leontes confides his suspicions to his trusted courtier Camillo and orders Polixenes to be poisoned. Instead of obeying his king’s orders, Camillo escapes with Polixenes to Bohemia instead.

While imprisoned and awaiting trial for her supposed crime, Hermione gives birth to a daughter. Paulina, a loyal noblewoman, brings the newborn to Leontes, hoping that the child will move him to release Hermione from her imprisonment. Instead, Leontes becomes further enraged and commands Antigonus, Paulina’s husband, to take the infant into the wild and abandon it there while her mother stands trial.

Pleading not guilty, Hermione begs her husband to relent. As the sentence is about to be announced, a post returns from Apollo’s Oracle at Delphos, bringing a scroll proclaiming Hermione’s innocence. Leontes, determined to punish his wife, disregards the Oracle. Immediately, news of Prince Mamillius’s death is brought to the chamber. Shocked over the death of her son, Hermione faints and is escorted out by her women. Finally recognizing his foolishness, Leontes repents, but he is too late. Paulina returns to announce that Queen Hermione also is dead. Grief-stricken, Leontes dedicates himself to a life of penitence and remembrance.

Meanwhile, Antigonus brings the newborn royal daughter to Bohemia, where he reports that Hermione appeared to him in a dream, bidding that he name the child Perdita. He leaves the baby on the Bohemian shore with a bag of gold and documents that reveal her name, high birth and unfortunate fate, before he is killed by a bear. Perdita is rescued by a good shepherd and his son who vow to care for her.

Sixteen years pass. Perdita grows into a young woman. Raised as the shepherd’s daughter, she is courted by King Polixenes’ son Florizel, who is unaware of her real parentage. At a sheep-shearing feast, Polixenes discovers his son’s conduct and attempts to separate the two lovers, but, with the help of Camillo, the couple is able to escape to Leontes’ court in Sicilia.

Leontes welcomes the young lovers, not realizing that the beautiful maiden is the daughter he abandoned long ago. Polixenes and Camillo soon arrive, bringing information of Perdita’s background and causing more truths to be revealed, bringing a happy and miraculous conclusion to the trials of both royal families.

Free For All FAQ

Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your Free For All experience!

What is Free For All?
The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Free For All is a much-loved Washington tradition, offering free performances of a Shakespearean classic to the general public at Sidney Harman Hall in the heart of Washington, D.C.’s Penn Quarter.

So, it's really free?
Completely 100% FREE. Tickets cost nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

Totally free Shakespeare? How is this possible?
Free For All is made possible by many incredible community-minded sponsors and partners, as well as individuals just like you! If you're interested in supporting the Free For All so we can continue to provide quality productions, consider joining the Friends of Free All. You get great benefits as well as the satisfaction of knowing you're helping to provide totally free Shakespeare for future generations.

Is the Free For All family friendly?
Our intention is for Free For All to be family friendly. Some performances will be more suitable for older children than younger ones.  Guardians should bring children out into the lobby if they are restless.  PLEASE NOTE:  Babes in arms are not allowed in the theatre.  We do request the children be five years of age or older.  Every person entering the theatre must have a ticket.

How many tickets are available?
There are 774 seats in Sidney Harman Hall. For each performance, a certain number of seats are designated to Friends of Free For All, students and other community partners through numerous outreach initiatives.

A minimum of 200 seats will be offered to the general public for each performance through our Ticket Line as well as many more given away through our Online Lottery.

How can I get Free For All tickets?
There are a number of ways you can secure tickets for the Free For All:

  1. Join Friends of Free For All 
    Gifts starting at $200 allow Friends to secure reserved seating in advance, receive program recognition and access our Patrons Lounge which includes complimentary beverages and snacks!
  2. Enter the Online Lottery 
    For each performance, a select number of seats are given away to lucky lottery winners. See below for details.
  3. Get in line instead of online
    Every day STC will make at least 200 tickets available the public in our Ticket Line at Sidney Harman Hall beginning approximately two (2) hours prior to curtain. Limit is two (2) tickets per person.  Remember to get there early! The line usually starts forming around 4:00 p.m.
  4. Follow STC on Social Media
    Our Facebook and Twitter fans can tell you from experience that we like giving stuff away. Start following STC and keep an eye out for chances to secure VIP seating for the Free For All and updates on ticket distribution.

How does the Online Lottery work?
A block of tickets will be given away on our website via the ticket lottery for each performance. Entries can be submitted at ShakespeareTheatre.org by selecting your performance on our online calendar.  

You may enter the daily lottery for each performance between 12:01 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. the day PRIOR to the performance you are interested in attending. (i.e. if you are interested in an 8:00 p.m. Saturday performance, you may enter the lottery starting at midnight on Friday morning through 8:00 p.m. Friday evening.  For the matinee performance on Saturday at 2:00 p.m., enter the lottery starting at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday morning.  The lottery will close Thursday evening at 8:00 p.m.)  

Winners will be chosen at random. The time you enter the lottery has no bearing on your chances of winning. Only one entry per account will be considered for the drawing. All entrants will receive an email after 8:00 p.m. the night before the performance. Limit two (2) tickets per winner.  We use an online email system called WordFly, and it may take a few hours before you receive your email depending on your own systems refresh time.

If I win tickets through the online lottery, when can I pick them up?
Winners may pick up their tickets at the Sidney Harman Hall Box Office beginning two (2) hours prior to curtain on the day of their performance.  All tickets MUST be picked up no later than 30 minutes prior to curtain. Any unclaimed tickets will be released to the ticket line.

All attendees MUST be physically in their seats no later than 10 minutes prior to curtain. Any empty seats will be filled in by standby patrons. PLEASE NOTE: Jackets and bags do not count as bodies.

What if I’m a member of Friends of Free For All?
Friends of Free For All who have not already received their tickets may pick up their tickets at the Sidney Harman Hall Box Office the day of the performance.

All tickets MUST be picked up no later than 15 minutes prior to curtain. Any unclaimed tickets will be released to the ticket line.

All attendees MUST be physically in their seats no later than 10 minutes prior to curtain. Any empty seats will be filled in by standby patrons. PLEASE NOTE: Jackets and bags do not count as bodies.

What happens if I win tickets through the online lottery, but cannot attend that performance?
Lottery winners may not exchange tickets. Tickets will be forfeited and you must enter the lottery again for another performance.

Friends of Free For All may exchange their FFA tickets for other available FFA performances.

What happens if I don't win tickets through the online lottery?
Fear not! If you didn't win tickets for the performance you want, a block of tickets is held for the general public and given away each day at the theatre for that day's performance. Simply come to Sidney Harman Hall and join other Free For All-ers in the Ticket Line.

And remember, you can always re-enter the online lottery for any Free For All performances left during the run.

Talk to me about this Ticket Line.
Our Ticket Line is the best place to get in the spirit and share your love of Shakespeare, theatre or free stuff with other Free For All-ers. We'll be giving away coupons for local eateries and other fun stuff! You can also enter to win tickets to other fabulous STC productions and other swag given away before every show!  At least 200 seats will be made available to give away to the Ticket Line for each performance.

I want to bring a group of people to the Free For All.  How do I obtain tickets?  
The ticket line is the only way to ensure a large number of tickets.  Remember that you can only receive two tickets per person.  So, if you want 10 tickets total, you need to bring at least five people with you to get all 10 tickets.  As the seating is general admission, it will be important for all of your party to enter together to ensure you can sit together.  The closer you arrive to show time, the less chance you have of being seated together.

Once I have my tickets, when can I take my seat?
Lobbies will open one hour prior to curtain and you may enter to use the restrooms or purchase concessions. The house will open 30 minutes prior to curtain and you may then take your seats.

All attendees MUST be physically in their seats no later than 10 minutes prior to curtain. Any empty seats will be filled in by standby patrons. PLEASE NOTE: Jackets and bags do not count as bodies.

Public restrooms: where are they?
Sidney Harman Hall restrooms will be accessible one hour prior to curtain for patrons who receive tickets. Public facilities are located in the National Portrait Gallery (located on F Street NW between 7th and 8th Streets NW) during museum hours (11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.).  We do apologize, but we cannot allow patrons access to our restrooms until one hour prior to curtain.

Where can we get a bite to eat?
Penn Quarter is full of great restaurants for pre- or post-theatre dining. Visit our Dining Page for suggestions and make reservations through Open Table.

Concessions will be available beginning one hour prior to curtain and during intermission.

Ok. You've convinced me. Now, how do I get there?
The easiest way to visit Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW) is by taking Metro, the area’s extensive and easy-to-use public transportation system. Sidney Harman Hall is a block from the Gallery Pl-Chinatown and Judiciary Square stations. For Metro maps and times visit wmata.com.

Several parking garages are located around Sidney Harman Hall; rates and closing times vary, so please check with each individual garage.


For more information, click here.

Free For All 2014 Schedule of performances

S M T W T F S
August
17 18
  • 7:30 PM
19
  • 7:30 PM
20
  • 8:00 PM
21
  • 8:00 PM
22
  • 2:00 PM A
  • 8:00 PM
23
  • 2:00 PM
  • 7:30 PM
24
25
  • 7:30 PM OC
26
  • 7:30 PM
27
  • 12:00 PM
  • 8:00 PM
28
  • 8:00 PM
29
  • 2:00 PM
  • 8:00 PM
30
  • 2:00 PM
31
           

A - Audio Described Performance Aug 23, 2:00pm

OC - Open Caption Performance Aug 26, 7:30pm

Patrons requesting Audio Described (8/23) or Open Captioned (8/26) accommodations may email stcbox@shakespretheatre.org or call the Box Office at 202-547-1122.


The Free For All
Ticket Lottery



The lottery has ended.

Many thanks to all of those who participated in this year's Free for All.
The Free For All
Ticket Lottery



The lottery is closed.
Please check back after midnight.



Friends of Free for All

Citizens for Shakespeare