Break a Leg, Not the Bank

Cheaper ways to see live theater in Houston

By Katherine Gunn July 6, 2015

Image: Alley Theatre

I love seeing live theater, but as a college student, I'm not always able to afford full-price tickets. But I've found that if you do a little investigating, there's plenty a ways to see theater in Houston for less. Below is a list of tricks for theatergoers on a budget. 

Check discount websites

Goldstar often has half-price theater and event tickets, and even Groupon has some shows mixed in with all its other discounts.

Go on an off-night

Larger theaters with a range of ticket prices will often have cheaper tickets available on weeknights. Some theaters have community nights, and some even have free or very cheap open dress rehearsals, though these often aren’t widely advertised.


Many theaters, including TUTS, rely on volunteers to usher their performances. You'll have to attend a volunteer training sesson and show up early, but then you get to watch the performance totally free! Make sure to check the requirements before you sign up; some places prefer you to help out for multiple performances and some don’t mind if you’re just there for one.

Find free events

Miller Outdoor Theater has some great shows, and all of them are free, our favorite being this summer's Houston Shakespeare Festival featuring Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice. Other theater companies sometimes put on special free shows here, especially if they’re doing an outdoor production or a performance aimed at a wider community.

Be a student/senior/military member

Many theaters have discounts for special groups including students, industry professionals and seniors, depending on the theater. Some theaters and venues may not post discounts on their site, so it may pay off to give them a call or an email. 

Watch a recording

There’s something magical about live theater that you just can’t get anywhere else. That said, when seeing a live show isn't an option, theatergoers can still enjoy filmed stage productions (watch Royal National Theatre's 1998 live recording of Oklahoma! starring Hugh Jackman on YouTube). Others are occasionally screened on TV or in movies theaters like River Oaks Theatre, which sometimes holds screenings of London's Globe Theatre productions.  

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