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Theatre Battery In Kent Offers Free Tickets To Show About An Immigrant’s Struggles

Logan Ellis
Theatre Battery
(From left to right): Benjamin Benne, playwright, Brandon J. Simmons, director, Anabel Hovig, actor, and Klarissa Marie Robles, actor

Going to see live theater can be expensive, but a theater group in Kent has figured out a model for putting on a professional show with paid actors without charging anything for admission.

Theatre Battery in Kent has just opened its new show called Alma (or #nowall) by the playwright Benjamin Benne. It’s about an undocumented woman from Mexico and her American-born daughter coping with the Trump administration’s changing immigration policies.

Logan Ellis, producing artistic director of Theatre Battery, said it’s a piece that’s particularly timely right now.

“This family is starting to cope with the mounting pressures and fears of xenophobia and deportation and the specific rhetoric of the current administration,” he said.

Ellis said because they’ve received grants, they’re able to give all the tickets away for free. The aim is to attract people who might normally avoid going to the theater because they can’t afford it. He said he hopes immigrants and refugees living in Kent will attend.

“The expectation to pay money is completely taken away as a barrier to more inclusive participation in theater,” Ellis said.

The idea of free tickets is based on the principle of “radical hospitality” and is modeled after a theater in Minneapolis, he said.

Theatre Battery is also able to keep costs down because they perform in a space they’ve created in a donated vacant storefront at the Kent Station shopping center.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.