Frequently Asked Questions
What is ArtsEmerson?
ArtsEmerson is Boston’s leading presenter of contemporary world theatre. We are dedicated to engaging all communities through stories that reveal and deepen our connection to each other. By cultivating diversity in the art and in the audience, we ignite public conversation around our most vexing societal challenges as a catalyst for overcoming them.
What is the history of the organization?
Founded by Robert J. Orchard in 2010, the year the US Census confirmed there was no single cultural majority in Boston, we committed to building a cultural institution that reflects the diversity of our city. We operate from the core belief that the arts are for everyone. By “putting the world on stage” ArtsEmerson quickly established a reputation for presenting outstanding work from around the globe — work that emanates from the language of theater, yet pushes the boundaries between theater, dance, music, and media arts. ArtsEmerson is currently led by Artistic Director David Dower and Executive Director David C. Howse. You can learn more about our history here.
Is ArtsEmerson connected to Emerson College?
Yes. ArtsEmerson is the professional presenting and producing organization of the Office of the Arts at Emerson College.
What is HowlRound?
HowlRound is a free and open platform for theatremakers worldwide that amplifies progressive, disruptive ideas about the art form and facilitates connection between diverse practitioners.
HowlRound launched as an online journal in 2011, created by P. Carl, David Dower, Jamie Gahlon, and Vijay Mathew as part of the American Voices New Play Institute (AVNPI) at Arena Stage (founded by Dower in 2009). In 2012 the co-founders and all of the documentation and dissemination work of the AVNPI relocated to Emerson College in Boston under the banner of HowlRound. Learn more here.
HowlRound is based alongside ArtsEmerson in the Office of the Arts at Emerson College. Collaborations between the sister organizations can be found in the publications HowlRound Journal and livestreamed public dialogues on HowlRound TV.
Does ArtsEmerson present or produce student productions?
No. While all of our departments employ Emerson College students to assist us in our mission, the productions we bring to the stage are professional theatre companies from around the world.
Who decides what to present? Can I suggest a production?
The programming process here involves a lot of scouting, a lot of decision points, and many members of the ArtsEmerson team. In 2015, we posted "How A Season Comes Together" on HowlRound which articulates our approach, values and process and continues to apply to today. We also use a two-part question to decide what to explore for our programming: A: "Is it important for the project to be done in Boston?" B: "Is it ArtsEmerson's to do?" There are many, many more projects that are important to be done than are ArtsEmerson projects. We are always happy to hear about projects you've seen that you think are ArtsEmerson's to do. But we encourage you to spend a bit of time exploring our history and our mission so that you are landing in the frame of our thinking if you are making a recommendation.
We are primarily a presenting organization and produce new plays only on occasion. Script submissions, therefore, are not productive outreach with us. We recommend you consult the StageSource website if you are interested in submitting a script somewhere for a Boston production.
How can I support the work of ArtsEmerson? Or how is ArtsEmerson funded?
The generous support of ArtsEmerson’s individual donors, institutional funders and sponsors makes everything possible. Please consider making a charitable contribution and help us create a thriving world through the arts. Donate now!
Attending an Event
Where do these shows happen?
We primarily present this work in two locations: the Emerson Paramount Center and the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre. Inside of the Paramount, there are three separate spaces: the Robert J. Orchard Stage, the Jackie Liebergott Black Box, and the Bright Family Screening Room. Both historic theatres are in downtown Boston in the Theatre District, a mere four blocks away from each other.
What do I wear?
Whatever you feel comfortable wearing. Some attendees dress up for a night at the theatre, others dress quite casually. All are welcome.
What kind of accessibility access does ArtsEmerson provide?
ArtsEmerson operates from the core belief that the arts are for everyone and offers ASL Interpreted, Audio Described, and Sensory Friendly programming at designated performances throughout the year. If you have questions about our Accessible Services or suggestions on how we can make our theaters more accessible, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 617.824.8400.
What prices should I expect for tickets? How do I get discounted tickets? ArtsEmerson extends a variety of discounts so everyone can experience the world on stage. Please check our official offers page for more information.
What should I do in Boston this weekend?
Visiting from out of town? Longtime resident but looking to do shake things up? Bookmark our Events page to see a calendar of all of the live performances and film screenings coming up. Chances are, there will be something unique happening in one of our spaces in our downtown Boston venues.
How can I meet the artists?
We love connecting our audiences to artists from around the world during their time in Boston. When possible, you can connect with artists and other audience members in a facilitated discussion on a Friday or Saturday night after the show. If you're more interested in a party than a conversation, check out our opening night toasts, Welcome to Boston Cast Parties, and lobby chats. More about all of these opportunities can be found here.
How do I get there? Do you validate parking?
Where should I eat before or after the show?
We are happy to report that there is a variety of dining options awaiting you! Since our spaces are located directly next to Boston’s historic Chinatown neighborhood, you’ll find dozens of restaurants offering everything from Thai, Vietnamese, and Malaysian cuisine within walking distances of our venues. Additionally, there are many restaurants and pubs in the theatre district itself; you can find a partial list of those locales here.
Is there a place for me to share my thoughts on the show I just saw?
Yes, we absolutely love that. We have an Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook page for ArtsEmerson with open replies. We read all comments and messages sent to these accounts and reply when possible.
Additionally, we also have a blog with a specific entry for comments about each and every show we present; this is most often the most active spot for discussion about the productions. We believe that creating spaces to tackle the questions raised on our stages and in our community is our privilege and responsibility as an arts organization. Subscribe to our blog for additional insight and artist content about our shows, to connect with others in the community and to learn more about our commitment to advancing racial equity in Boston.
How can I replace my lost or stolen tickets?
Tickets purchased with a credit card can be replaced by calling (617) 824-8000. We will reprint your tickets and hold them at the Box Office. When picking up the tickets, you will be required to show a positive form of identification.
How can I avoid paying service and handling fees for ticket purchases?
You will not pay a service or handling fee when purchasing in person at the Box Office.
Does my child need a ticket?
Everyone, regardless of age, must have a ticket to enter the theatre.
What is the late seating policy?
Latecomers are seated at the discretion of management based on the production company's specific policy. We encourage all patrons to arrive at least thirty minutes prior to curtain to ensure there is ample time for traffic, parking and seating breaks.
Can I receive a refund or exchange for my tickets?
There are no refunds allowed on ticket purchases, but you can exchange your tickets up to 48 hours in advance of your performance. In all situations, if you have a problem or a conflict with your tickets, please contact the box office: 617.824.8400, email@example.com. We will be happy to discuss all options that are available to you.