Backstage Pass

The Backstage Pass student matinee program at UNK is designed to offer students and instructors from across Nebraska an opportunity to combine the experience of live theatre with the benefits of theatre education.  This program typically targets high school students, but we are happy to include elementary and middle school students whenever our productions are appropriate for younger audiences.  Through this experience, we hope to inspire a greater appreciation for the Theatre Arts in students of all ages.

Every Backstage Pass matinee event consists of a performance of the current UNK Theatre & Dance production, immediately followed by a brief Q&A session with the production's cast, crew, director, and designers.  The Q&A session is an informal opportunity for students (and instructors) to ask any questions that come to mind regarding the production, the UNK Theatre & Dance program, or Theatre in general.

With admission to each Backstage Pass matinee event set at only $1 per person (students and chaperones), we hope to make live Theatre more accessible to students in schools across the state.   

While detailed information about each individual Backstage Pass event is e-mailed to our Nebraska High School contacts (drama instructors) prior to each event, we welcome instructors to review the information here, and submit reservations at any time - no need to wait.  To be sure we know who to expect, we do require advance reservations for all school groups and/or any individual students attending on their own.

To make a reservation for a Backstage Pass event at any time, feel free to contact Susan Deiger, or click below. 


2023-2024 Backstage Pass/Student Matinee Events:

Performance Title

Show times and information

The Tempest

by William Shakespeare  

Student Matinee (high school):  October 5, 2023
10:00am  |  Miriam Drake Theatre

Shakespeare’s The Tempest recounts the magical tale of Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, as they find their way back from years of isolation on a deserted island.  It is a true journey of discovery, set into motion when fate brings Prospero’s enemies past his island home.  Though Prospero endeavors to use magic and manipulation to exact his revenge, he ultimately realizes what truly matters in life.  The Tempest is a captivating tale of magic, love, family, and forgiveness.

Perfect Arrangement  

by Topher Payne



book by
Elizabeth Diggs

music by
Harvey Schmidt

lyrics by
Tom Jones

Student Matinees (elementary):  February 29 & March 1, 2024  
9:00am  |  Miriam Drake Theatre

Mirette tells the enchanting tale of a most unusual friendship between a gutsy ten-year-old girl and a brooding tightrope walker. Set in a boarding house for circus performers in 1890’s Paris, young Mirette is delighted when she discovers her mother's grumpy new boarder is none other than The Great Bellini, whose glorious tightrope-walking days were cut short when he lost his nerve. Demonstrating an innate talent for balancing, she convinces the reluctant Bellini to teach her his craft. But when Bellini, determined not to disappoint the girl, stages a comeback performance, he finds himself paralyzed with fear, and it is Mirette who reveals the true meaning of courage.  Based on the Caldecott Award-winning children's book Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully, Mirette is a delightfully charming treasure for the whole family to enjoy.


Say It Out Loud

by Lauren Bonk

with original music by
Mark Rose




Student Matinee:  May 3, 2024
10:00am  |  Miriam Drake Theatre

The annual spring dance concert at UNK features original works choreographed and performed by UNK students, dance faculty, and guest artists.

For further information about the Backstage Pass matinee program, or to be included on the e-mail list, please contact Susan Deiger.