Available Light is Ohio’s hippest and hottest presenter of new and original theatrical productions. Voted “Best Live Theater” in 2009 by the readers of the Columbus Alive!, AVLT is renowned by audiences and critics alike for bold creations by local artists and regional premieres of important new work by playwrights from around the globe.
We create theatre that other troupes do not and could not produce because we believe it is our duty as artists to engage our community, to examine our culture and as we often put it, “to add to the sum total of joy and brotherhood in the room.” Our tickets regularly go for the wickedly reasonable price of “Pay What You Want” because now, more than ever, we all really need great art. And because now, more than ever, we cannot allow economic circumstances to shut anyone out of the theater.
We are committed to developing local talent and contributing to the local arts scene, and making Columbus a better place to live and work. We also collaborate with creative small businesses and provide opportunities for volunteers who don’t have formal theatre training. It’s all part of our mission to enable artists and audiences alike “to live the life of the imagination.”
In 2002, on some very firm advice from the SITI company’s world-renowned director Anne Bogart, Matt Slaybaugh gathered a number of his favorite artists to form the BlueForms Theatre Group. They quickly established a reputation for passionate and potent work. In late 2004, the company was named one of the “hippest, hottest, companies in the country” by American Theatre magazine.
After several prolific years of BlueForms shows, in early 2006, Slaybaugh founded Available Light Theatre with several BlueForms members. The group quickly expanded its reputation for original work at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Several more popular and political world premieres followed in 2007.
In 2008, Available Light broke new ground by presenting Dead City, Sheila Callaghan’s brazen adaptation of Ulysses at the Studio Two theatre downtown. Instituting a “Pay What You Want” policy for every seat, every show, and every patron, the group nearly doubled its audience. The year ended with Time and a Few Words, a massive show built over a four-month period.
2009-10 was full of of big gambles and bigger hits, from Anne Washburn’s tongue-twisting The Internationalist, to the economic smash Dirty Math, to the spiritual highs of Young Jean Lee’s Church. Sell-out crowds greeted Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, adapted by Daniel Kramer, and the 50th Anniversary production of To Kill a Mockingbird, and AVLT tackled Martin Crimp’s postmodern classic, Attempts on Her Life. And Sean Christopher Lewis’s Killadelphia, a play presented by AVLT in 3 different months of 2009-10, received the National New Play Network 2010 Smith Prize for the best new play focusing on American politics.
The 2010-11 season yielded bigger risks and bigger rewards as Available Light tackled its first musical, Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, the world premiere staging of a universally acclaimed graphic novel (Skyscrapers of the Midwest), a Shakespearean tragedy (The Life and Death of Richard the Third), and much, much more.
If you like what you’ve seen so far, don’t go away. We’re just getting warmed up.
[Please go here for our full production history.]