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Best Free And Cheap Theatre In Chicago

While seeing a show in one of Chicago's many smaller theatres is very cost-effective (tickets can usually be found for $20-25, and there are many deals to be had if you do a little investigative work), there are a few "public access" theatres and discount ticket programs that offer a super cheap – or even free – option for theatergoers on a budget. - Bob Bullen

Quest Theatre Ensemble

1609 West Gregory
Chicago, IL 60686
(312) 458-0895

Reservations are highly recommended for a show at Quest, as the tickets are free, with donations greatly appreciated. The performance space is in the basement of a school in the Edgewater community, providing an intimate and unique theatrical experience. The talent on the stage at Quest rivals any major non-professional theater in Chicago, and the storytelling is always artfully achieved, usually employing large-scale puppets in an unexpected way.


Oracle Theatre

3809 North Broadway
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 244-2980

Oracle offers an intense, complex theatre experience for absolutely nothing. Or, rather, tickets are "pay what you can." Check out their latest effort, Blood Wedding, which sounds perfect for the Halloween season.



5153 North Ashland Avenue
Chicago 60640
(773) 275-5255

Now in its 21st year, the Neo-Futurists popular, high energy show, "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind," is perfect late night entertainment on a budget. Tickets are $9 (cash only at the door) plus the roll of a single six-sided die. Seating is first-come, first-served, so arrive early.

Free Night of Theatre Program
Available through Oct. 30

The Theatre Communications Group has established a simple way to urge people who might not necessary attend theatre to give it a try: partner with theatre companies around the nation to offer free tickets. Browse the website to see what's available – but do it soon: the program ends Oct. 30, and the free tickets, which are still available as of this writing, will be snatched up before then. And mark your calendars for next year's free theatre event so you can be the first to take advantage of it!


Rogers Park Flex Pass

Lifeline Theatre, Raven Theatre, the side project, and Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre – four highly-respected theatres located in the budding arts community of Rogers Park – have teamed together to create the Rogers Park Flex Pass. For $50, you receive a four-show pass, good for one admission to any show, anytime during the 2010-2011 season. This is a great deal for some great theatre.



Two locations: 72 East Randolph Street & 163 East Pearson Street
Chicago, IL 60611

For last minute deals, secure half-priced tickets for currently playing shows around the city by visiting Hottix's website or one of their two locations. Tickets are usually available the day of the performance, but in some cases tickets are available for performances taking place in the near future. The site is updated throughout the day as tickets become available.

Bob Bullen is a writer and long-time fan of Chicago's vibrant theatre scene, which he captures on his blog, Chicago Theatre Addict.

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