ReThink Theatrical was founded in 2015 as a way to produce theater with a budget of zero dollars. Since then, we’ve produced multiple shows without the use of any money, thereby permitting tickets to be free. This model allows us to work in partnership with local communities to create professional quality theater for the public. Without the need for a budget, our productions become innovative in their style and design. Ultimately, we hope that all people can enjoy and engage in these stories in order to reimagine the potential that theater has within its community.
According to the 2014 census, over 10% of New Jersey’s population lives under the poverty line. While this number varies by demographic and region, we believe that the cost of theater and local art is a critical hurdle to overcome in the fight to give quality storytelling to everyone. As a result, ReThink Theatrical will never charge an entrance fee to see our productions. Instead, we suggest a donation amount and allow guests to pay what they can and feel is appropriate. We believe in giving dignity and respect to all those who want to experience our stories and the price of theater should not be a factor in providing that access.
In addition to cost, there are other hurdles one must overcome to access quality theater. Factors such as language barriers, physical disability, location/transportation, time investment, and familiarity of content all play a role in the reception and enjoyment of a story. We believe all storytelling should attempt to tackle one or more of these hurdles in order to serve a broader portion of our local communities. While we understand that not everyone can experience everything, ReThink Theatrical works to maximize its access to all audiences with each of its productions.
“Free” only goes so far to get the public to engage in theater. While many forms of performance art are critical to the development of how we express ourselves and communicate with others, they often become unapproachable to the general public. We believe in creating approachable, enjoyable, and professional quality storytelling that reaches all types of audiences, despite age, ethnic background, class, and experience with theater and art. In doing so, ReThink Theatrical offers a broad range of venues, stories, people, materials, and messages that can engage a larger portion of our community. We believe it is important to serve both local artists and those who think “art is not for them.”
Because we work through a variety of venues, our definition of “community” changes depending on where we go. We currently serve local towns in central New Jersey, but hope to reach across the whole of the state and beyond. Regardless of where, ReThink Theatrical works to engage local people and partners, providing quality storytelling that attracts local residents and reflects community values. This happens through strategic locations, content, and partnerships that will provide the largest group of local people with free theater.
Theater can teach something to everyone! Whether you are in grade school or a life-long adult learner, ReThink Theatrical provides opportunities for you to expand your understanding of the arts and your community. Relatable stories, workshops, outreach programs, and partnerships with academic institutions help inspire others to make more art despite their financial resources. We use free storytelling to help community members learn more about art and more about one another.
Free and accessible theater does not just benefit the audience members. ReThink Theatrical works with its production staffs, performers, and artists to develop a professional culture of inclusivity, teamwork, and education through the process of storytelling. We strive to help artists of every discipline refine the craft, build their portfolios, and stretch their professional limits as they work within our mission of accessible theater.