Spokane Civic Theater

The Spokane Civic Theater, a few miles from Gonzaga's campus, plans to put on "Matilda" on Sept. 13.

The Spokane Civic Theatre, located just a few miles west of the Gonzaga campus, is about to enter its 73rd season.

This theater is one of the oldest community theaters in the country and as its mission says hopes “to foster an enduring love for live theatre in every community member.”

The Civic’s upcoming season is filled with 10 diverse shows that aspire to cover every type of interest.

This season the shows has a wide range including family favorite “Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical,” the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the modern classic “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” the drama “The Humans,” the edgy “Cabaret” as well as the local “Exile” and many more.

Tickets for these shows typically cost $35 a show and season packages runs about $140. However, there is a deal specifically for students called Teen Tickets. 

This program allows all high school and college students the opportunity to purchase tickets for $10 either online or at the box office for any Saturday performance of any production.

“It’s an enriching experience, it’s entertainment in a different capacity without an excessive cost,” said Jake Schaefer, creative director at the Civic Theatre. “A college student should not be asked to come see a show at $35 a ticket, that’s absurd. But, $10 to see a show is cheaper than a movie. With this a student can come see all 10 of our productions for $100 total.”

This ticket deal offers students an opportunity to see well-made theater as well as interact with the greater Spokane community, Schaefer said.

“I think having as many opportunities as possible for performing arts is important,” said Courtney Smith, assistant professor of theatre and dance at GU. Smith also serves as the set designer for the upcoming Civic Theatre production of  “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” “The students from Gonzaga who do participate there have nothing but great experiences and when that comes back to me it makes me excited to work with them.

“They have a great reputation for producing good quality work and putting on shows you wouldn’t necessarily see at the INB [now called First Interstate Center for the Arts], “Having a good wide net of shows just in the Spokane area is important.”

The upcoming season the theater has set up is diverse and should have something for everyone. There will be 10 productions split between two stages – the Margot and Robert Ogden Main Stage and the Firth J Chew Studio Theatre.

The Main Stage will feature more well-known titles that serve a broader audience while the Studio Theatre is a black box theater made for experimental and new productions. The season runs from September through June, beginning with “Matilda” on the Main Stage.

“We really are trying to cater to all the tastes of the area,” Schaefer said. “Everything isn’t going to be for everyone, but our hope is the everyone can find something in at least a show to connect to or learn from.”

There are so many opportunities to take in the performing arts in Spokane, and The Civic Theatre stands as one of the oldest and most prestigious theaters in the area, all while being accessible to all with its pricing. Students have an opportunity to see all types of work through this theater.

“Seeing other people’s work and being in the community and celebrating everyone’s work is important,” Smith said. “That’s why I always recommend seeing shows in the community – so students can see shows at all levels of work.”

Season Preview:

Margot and Robert Ogden Main Stage:

‘Matilda’ Sept. 14 – Oct. 13

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Nov. 29 – Dec. 22

‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’ Jan. 24 – Feb. 23

‘The Humans’ March 27 – April 19

‘Funny Girl’ May 15 – June 14

Firth J Chew Studio Theatre:

‘The Book of Will’ Sept. 27 – Oct. 20

‘This Is Our Youth’ Nov. 15 – Dec. 8

‘Present Laughter’ Jan. 10 – Feb. 2

‘Cabaret’ Feb. 28 – March 22

‘Exile’ April 17 – May 10

Riley Utley is a news editor.

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