Theater Matinees for Students

The Theater is Your Classroom

For so many of us, our first introduction to theater was through a school field trip to attend a student matinee at our local theatre. It was there that the stories we read about in the classroom were illuminated on stage with actors who brought the characters and their words to life. Theater opened our minds to new worlds and ideas that led to discussions that enhanced our understanding of our common humanity.

Plays selected as part of ETC’s student matinee program align with the curriculum in a way that will enhance the lessons learned in the classroom and leave the next generation with a deep appreciation for the extraordinary power of story told through live professional theater.

Through our Student Matinee Program, young people have the opportunity to experience high-quality, live professional theatre productions as a core part of their education. ETC offers students and teachers:

    • A professional, full-length performance of a show at The New Vic at an affordable price;
    • The guarantee that no student will be turned away due to lack of funds;
    • An engaging post-show discussion with the cast and artistic staff;
    • A study guide to help prepare teachers and students to get the most out of the performance;
    • Complimentary water and snacks at intermission;
    • The option of having ETC teaching artists visit the classroom before and/or after the show to lead discussions and activities.

If our scheduled student matinee dates don’t work for your class, please contact our box office for information about special educational rates for regular performances at 805.965.5400 or email


2023-24 Student Matinee Performance Series

Friday, February 9, 2024 at 10:30 a.m. 
Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.
Based on the book “The Children of Willesden Lane: Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival” by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen Adapted and Directed by Hershey Felder

Set in Vienna in 1938 and in London during the Blitz, The Pianist of Willesden Lane tells the true and inspirational story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish pianist who is dreaming about her concert debut at Vienna’s storied Musikverein concert hall. But with the issuing of new ordinances under the Nazi regime, everything for Lisa changes, except for her love of music and the pursuit of her dream.  Grammy-nominated pianist Mona Golabek performs some of the world’s most beloved music as she shares her mother’s riveting true story of survival.

Complimentary tickets are available to all Santa Barbara County Public Schools. For all other student groups, tickets are $10 per student ($25 at regular performances) with 1 complimentary chaperone ticket for every 10 tickets purchased.

We are dedicated to providing students with artistic experiences regardless of their ability to pay. Thanks to the generous support of the Leni Fund, underwriting of transportation and ticket costs is available to all schools in the Santa Barbara County School District, subject to availability.

We welcome homeschool groups of any size who wish to attend our student matinees. Please fill out the online registration form to reserve your group.

Study Guides are free and available two weeks prior to the performance date.

ETC is pleased to offer free pre-show workshops for school groups attending student matinees. These 45-minute in-classroom workshops are led by ETC teaching artists and provide a fun and collaborative opportunity for students to engage with the themes, ideas, and issues of the production they are about to see. These workshops must be requested in advance and are subject to availability. For more information on pre/post-show workshops, please email

Please note age appropriateness before making your reservation. Teachers may request a copy of the script for their perusal. In most circumstances, our student matinee performances are presented in their original form, without language or content editing.

How long are the performances?

Performance running times are posted with the show information. Groups staying for the post-show talkback should add an additional 20-30 minutes to the overall duration of their visit.


How many seats are available?

ETC’s The New Vic has a capacity of 272 seats.


Can I become an usher for a student matinee?

At this time we do not use volunteer ushers for our student matinees. However, if you wish to get more involved in our education programs you might want to consider serving on our Education Committee. For more information please contact us at  

Do you require a deposit?

There is a 25% non-refundable deposit that is due 5 days after the confirmation of your reservation.  Your seating priority is based on the date your deposit is received. (Due to uncertainty surrounding COVID, all deposits are refundable if ETC cannot present the performance, or a group is unable to attend.)


Can I change my reservation number if I don’t have as many students?

Final headcounts must be received no later than two weeks prior to your scheduled performance date to qualify for a refund. 


What do we do in the case of a school closure?

ETC will make every effort to accommodate your group on another date of the student matinee series.  In the case that we are unable to, there are a variety of options, including reallocating the seats to an evening or weekend performance, choosing a different title in the student matinee series, or placing the tickets on hold for future use.


What happens if a student matinee performance is canceled by ETC?

In the rare event that a performance is canceled, you will have the option of a full refund, reallocating the seats to an evening or weekend performance, choosing a different title in the student matinee series, or placing the tickets on hold for future use.


Are there concessions?

All student matinee ticket holders receive a complimentary snack and bottle of water during the interval. Concessions are not available for shows that run without an intermission.


What is a talkback?

Immediately following the performance, the performers convene on the stage to engage in a dialogue about the play and answer your students’ questions.  This engaging opportunity lasts for about 20-30 minutes after the conclusion of the performance and is included in the cost of your ticket.


Where do we park?

Busses should drop students off at the front entrance on Victoria.


Where can we grab breakfast or lunch?

The Santa Barbara Public Market is located just across the street from the New Vic and offers various different food options. For more information visit There is also a Starbucks one block away on Victoria and State Street.

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