Donor Gift Provides Free Tickets

October 19, 2018 by Carolina Theatre

Continuing a nearly century-long tradition of presenting the best performing arts and film to all residents of the Triangle, the Carolina Theatre of Durham will launch its Family Saturday Series season on October 20. A generous donation made by theatre supporters Dr. Susan Rosenthal and Dr. Michael Hershfield will allow hundreds of area families to see this engaging programming absolutely free of charge.

After debuting in a smaller pilot program last season, the Carolina Theatre’s 2018-19 Family Saturday Series features nine diverse artistic events from October 20 through May 4. The aim of the series is to present high quality, family-friendly art at a price point that encourages attendance by entire families, potentially providing some guests with their first exposure to a show inside Durham’s historic downtown venue.

This year’s Family Saturday Series will begin with a performance by bluegrass musician Charles Pettee on Saturday, October 20 at 11 a.m. in the theatre’s 226-seat Cinema One (309 West Morgan St., Durham). A full schedule of Family Saturday Series performances is attached and also available online at

Thanks to the gift from Rosenthal and Hershfield, at least 100 free passes to each of the nine scheduled Family Saturday Series performances will be available to economically disadvantaged families. The Carolina Theatre’s Department of Education & Community Engagement is sharing the donation through free Family Saturday Series passes distributed to the East Durham Children’s Initiative (2101 Angier Ave, Durham) and the City of Durham’s Neighborhood Improvement Services (Building 2, 807 E Main St #300, Durham), both of which will help make local families aware of the opportunity to see one or more of the presentations.

Additional tickets for each presentation will be available at the door for guests without resources who have not obtained free passes through the Durham-based agencies above. Paid admission to all Family Saturday Series events is $5.

Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc., the nonprofit that operates the 92-year-old city-owned theatre, has augmented Dr. Rosenthal and Dr. Hershfield’s gift, making available a free popcorn and soda voucher for guests attending Family Saturday Series events through this program.

“Watching hundreds of school children experience live performing arts and film inside our venue brings a beautiful and magical energy to the entire building,” Carolina Theatre President & CEO Rebecca Newton said. “We’re grateful to the City of Durham, our sponsors and our patrons to help us support our efforts. It’s a great feeling to know we make a difference in the lives of our young visitors by presenting quality live arts and film throughout the school year.”

Keeping in the spirit of making every Family Saturday Series event a uniquely Durham experience, the theatre has a sponsorship agreement with Cocoa Cinnamon’s 4th Dimension Coffee roastery to offer a free cup of coffee to every series attendee while supplies last.

The Family Saturday Series is made possible in part by support from the Fox Family Foundation and BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina. The series is a component of the Carolina Theatre’s Department of Education & Community Engagement, led by Senior Director Noel James, who also programs the nonprofit’s Arts Discovery Educational Series. Each year, James works with Durham Public Schools to provide free tickets to thousands of students to attend captivating on-stage performances, fostering learning through these school-approved field-trips.

“This gift allows us to increase the number of families served by our partnering organizations and provides a fun way for them to spend time together, which is so important in strengthening the family unit,” James said.

The Family Saturday Series is another way the Carolina Theatre of Durham remains committed to being a valuable touchstone for the arts in its community and a beacon attracting visitors to partake in the bright future of its city’s downtown. We hope Durhamites, and residents from all over the Triangle, will find their way to our historic venue for these wonderful Saturday shows.