5 Under $25: Performance Art on the Cheap in Houston

Photo by B. Tse via CC

Welcome to the first installment of 5 under $25– a list of five performance art venues Houstonians can attend for under $25. With this list, we’re just giving you the leverage to haggle with happiness. Paying retail is for special occasions.

  • Miller Outdoor Theatre | FREE – The big kahuna of free entertainment and the greatest way to inaugurate a list of inexpensive performance art. What can you see? What can’t you see? Miller Outdoor Theatre houses the Houston Shakespeare Festival, offers space to international companies like the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and features free selections from the Houston Ballet and the Houston Grand Opera.
  • Catastrophic Theatre | Pay What You Can  You may disagree, but pay-what-you-can is better than free. You get the pleasure (and self-righteousness) of charity and contribution while getting to see an awesome performance. Catastrophic Theatre focuses on fresh works, some featuring and written by local favorite Tamarie Cooper. The suggested price is $25 for those who want to contribute, but always have trouble calculating group bills with tip. (Just split the bill evenly. For what you lose in dollars, you earn in avoiding math for one extra day.) However, you can give less or more. For the purposes of our list, less is more.
  • MFAH Films  At the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston‘s film exhibition program, you can see films for as little as $9, including the Movies Houstonians Love series hosted by a Houston celebrity. (Past presenters have been Bun B and Barbara Bush). And there is every film festival under the sun, like the Turkish Film Festival and the Houston Palestine Film Festival. Museum entry fee is $10. If free is more your thing, you can attend the upcoming Extremely Young Film Festival, which features films by filmmakers between 7 and 17. Take a moment to let that soak in. Seven year-olds are putting their blood, sweat, and tears into creating quality films then providing them to you for free. Kids these days.
  • Main Street Theater – Main Street Theater is a Houston theatre staple. You can see quality, adult theatric performances such as Noël Coward’s Peace in Our Time for only $20, and for those with kids or kid sensibilities, Main Street presents top-notch youth theatre as well. Recent productions tell the tales of talking mice (Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse) and flattened children (The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley). Youth theatre tickets are as low as $15.
  • Stages Repertory Theatre  Offerings include the hilarious Catechism series (what’s funnier than sincerely held beliefs?), the annual Get Talking series, and the traditional not-so-traditional Panto. This year Stages produced Panto Rapunzel (and Zombies): An Outrageous Family Musical. This season alone produced hits like Marie Antoinette and Stupid F**king Bird. At Stages, you can experience quirky, polished theatre for (slightly) under 20 bucks. Economy seats start at $19.