Nearly 500 Free Events Coming to Kennedy Center’s New $250M Interactive Space - NBC4 Washington

Nearly 500 Free Events Coming to Kennedy Center’s New $250M Interactive Space

The REACH has three pavilions with floor-to-ceiling windows, a pedestrian bridge to the National Mall, an outdoor stage, a video wall and what will be the largest “green roof” in the District — complete with landscaping, walking paths and a ginkgo grove

Nearly 500 Free Events Coming to Kennedy Center’s New $250M Interactive Space
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Skylight and Welcome Pavilions from the south at the Kennedy Center's new public space, The REACH. (The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts)

The Kennedy Center will offer nearly 500 free events in September to celebrate the opening of its new $250 million expansion, the REACH.

The two-week festival starts Sept. 7, with free events all day, every day until Sept. 22.

The REACH is named for its purpose: to reach the public. It will feature three pavilions with floor-to-ceiling windows, a pedestrian bridge to the National Mall, an outdoor stage, a video wall and what will be the largest "green roof" in the District — complete with landscaping, walking paths and a ginkgo grove.

Art is Accessible at the New Kennedy Center ExpansionArt is Accessible at the New Kennedy Center Expansion

“People think that they have to come to the Kennedy Center with a ticket in hand,” Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter said. With the REACH, that’s all going to change. Check out nearly 500 free events at the opening festival Sept. 7-22. News4's Cory Smith reports.

(Published Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019)

Expect performance poetry, jazz, recycled art, meditation, Tai Chi, improv, the National Symphony Orchestra and way more, and you can check it all out for free. However, timed-entry passes will be required. You get can them online, by phone (call 202-467-4700) or in-person or at the Kennedy Center box office. There is a six-pass limit per order. Note that passes don't guarantee entry to specific performances. Passes are going fast, so get them soon.

You can see the full schedule and pick your favorites here, or preview just a few of September's exciting events below:

Campus with Video Wall from Terrace at Dusk at the Kennedy Center's The REACH (Photo by Richard Barnes, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts)
Photo credit: Richard Barnes, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Saturday, Sept. 7

9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

The REACH will open with a bang: get ready for a parade, Tai Chi, a world music workshop, live music (including from the National Symphony Orchestra), film screenings, a virtual reality lounge, an underground comedy show and more. Super-slow-motion footage of dancers meant to capture the essence of dance will air every festival night from 10 to 11 p.m. Timed-entry passes are all snapped up, but you can go in-person and wait in line.

Kennedy Center's The REACH Opens With Music, Food, ParadeKennedy Center's The REACH Opens With Music, Food, Parade

The Kennedy Center is inviting people in to their newest addition — The REACH. From music to a parade, this weekend is going to be a big kickoff. News4's Tommy Mcfly has a closer look for The Scene.

(Published Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019)

Sunday, Sept. 8
10 a.m.-10 p.m.

A free "jazz barre" class led by Sidebarre DC starts at 10 a.m.; Grammy Award-winning vocal group Room Full of Teeth will perform at 1:30 p.m., and a comedy-jazz-improv fusion "experiment" will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Timed-entry passes are already gone for Sunday, but if you arrive without one, you can wait in a stand-by line to get in.

Monday, Sept. 9
10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Musicians from the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra will play in a relaxed atmosphere at the Skylight Pavilion at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Kids become the actors at 1:30 p.m. for InterAct Story Theater. Stick around for a screening of an HBO documentary on Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer fighting for racial justice. Timed-entry passes are available all day; and you can get them here.

Tuesday, Sept. 10
10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Explore indigenous cultures through many art media on Tuesday. Chat with Yalitza Aparicio, the first Indigenous American Academy Award-nominated actress, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Participate in hoop dancing at 1 p.m., listen to a panel on native artists at 2 or 4 p.m., and watch a live clay demonstration at 6 p.m. Timed entry passes are available all day; you can get them here.

Wednesday, Sept. 11
10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Get an inside look at a chamber group rehearsal featuring NSO musicians — they'll pause every 20 minutes to take questions from guests, and you can go for any part of the event from 10 a.m. to noon. D.C. wind quartet District5 will creatively break barriers between audience and performer at noon. Experience the benefits of music therapy in a "Sound Health" session at 1 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., you can check out a live, completely improvised, comedy musical podcast. Timed-entry passes are available for 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; you can get them here.

Thursday, Sept. 12
6 a.m.-10 p.m.

Start your morning right with Daybreaker DJs FDVM, MC Haile Supreme and yogi Atticus Mooney. The event is open to the first 1,000 people on site, according to the website. Timed-entry passes are available for 6 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and you can get them here. At 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. you can catch live musical performances on Millennium Stage.

Friday, Sept. 13
10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Keep it fresh Friday and dive into DJ culture. Participate in a beat-making workshop, learn about how music and social media can work as self-expression tools for black, Latinx, immigrant and trans communities, and dance to live multi-genre music. Timed entry passes are available for 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and you can get them here.

Saturday, Sept. 14
10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Saturday morning's theme is women in the arts. Check out a musical meditation on healing past and present trauma in a mashup of sound, spoken word, beats, hip hock, rock and avant-garde at 12:45 p.m. in the Sardar Classroom. Attend a DJing workshop at 3 and 4 p.m. in the Macaroni Classroom. Timed-entry passes are sold out, but you can go in-person and wait in line.

Sunday, Sept. 15
10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Sunday is for the kids! Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth with your little ones at family yoga, led by Circle Yoga, at 10 and 11 a.m. Get the creative juices flowing by making up songs at 10 a.m. and making dancing puppets at 3:30 p.m. Any leftover energy can be dedicated to family dance sessions at noon, 1, 2:30, 4:30 and 6 p.m. Timed-entry passes are sold out, but you can go in-person and wait in line.

Check Out This Animation of the Kennedy Center's New SpaceCheck Out This Animation of the Kennedy Center's New Space

The Kennedy Center's new interactive public space, The REACH, is named for its purpose: to reach and educate audiences. An opening festival with nearly 500 free events will take place Sept. 7-22.

(Published Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019)

Monday, Sept. 16
10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Most of Monday's events are invitation-only for educators, but the Virtual Reality Lounge, meditative zone in the Skylight Pavilion and a few film screenings are still available to the public. Monday is the first day of the "America to Me" screenings, an award-winning documentary series following the daily life of 12 Chicago students. Timed-entry passes are available all day, and you can get them here.

Tuesday, Sept. 17
10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Tap your feet to a Step Teams performance, laugh as nationally touring comedians roast each other, and watch your favorite Wakanda warriors during a "Black Panther" screening on the Video Wall. Episodes 3 and 4 of "America to Me" will air starting at 12:30 p.m. Timed-entry passes are available all day, and you can get them here.

Wednesday, Sept. 18
10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Episodes 5, 6 and 7 of "America to Me" will air on Wednesday starting at 12:30 p.m. At 5 p.m., hip-hop artist and scholar Olmeca will share personal stories and examine U.S. culture as it relates to underserved communities and low-income families. Timed-entry passes are available all day; you can get them here.

Thursday, Sept. 19
10 a.m.-9:45 p.m.

The final three episodes of "America to Me" are set to air Thursday at 12:30 p.m. — don't miss them! Practice your compassion through storytelling at 5 p.m., and enjoy live music performances at 6, 7:15 and 7:30 p.m. Timed-entry passes are available all day; you can get them here.

Friday, Sept. 20
10 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Friday is comedy day, with teen improv lessons and multiple performances by world-renowned comedy troupe The Second City. Participate in "Joke-E-Oke," like karaoke but a game show with jokes, at 9 p.m. Timed-entry passes are available at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; you can get them here.

Saturday, Sept. 21
10 a.m.-10:15 p.m.

Learn to dance Saturday — the options are endless. Classes are available for African dance, contemporary dance, classical Indian dance, Chinese ribbon dance, tap, floor barre, fitness dance, salsa and "Beychella" (Beyonce at Coachella) dance, and more. Timed-entry passes are gone, but you can go in-person and wait in line.

Sunday, Sept. 22
10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

Teens take over Sunday with jam sessions, poetry writing workshops, a Radical Listening Party, digital media workshop, African dance, T-shirt making, photography and more. Watch Junior Marvin, best-known for performing with Bob Marley, live at 6 p.m. The Howard University Marching Band will perform at 7, and Beyonce's film "Homecoming" will screen at 7:30. Timed-entry passes are available for 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; you can get them here.

Watch NBC4 and get the latest news anytime, anywhere. Check here for TV listings.