Student Matinees

Each year, we offer Season for Youth Student Matinees during the regular school day. Available at reduced rates for school groups, these performances engage and expose youth to the wonders of live, professional theatre and help inspire and build the next generation of theatre lovers!  We hope you and your students will join us!

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Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress; photo: Shinnerrie Jackson by Elizabeth AaronSeason for Youth calendar for Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress

“A monumental work, whose time has finally come.” 

This 1955 comedy-drama was planned for Broadway but canceled when Childress wouldn’t tone down its message. Follow an experienced Black stage actress through rehearsals of a major Broadway production in this funny, moving, and shattering look at racism, identity, and ego in the high-stakes world of New York theatre.

Recommended for: Age 13+ 
Approximate length: 2 hours  



SYNOPSIS: Sixty-four years late and right on time, Alice Childress’ wise and stirring backstage comedy-drama Trouble in Mind displays a radical satire of racism in the theater. Set in a theater during rehearsals for a play, Trouble in Mind details the interactions among the cast – a mostly Black ensemble of sophisticated, world-wise actors playing stereotypical characters in the sort of White Savior fiction that would, for decades, pass as enlightened tolerance. When Wiletta Mayer, a talented black actress, finds that her arguments to tell the truth are dismissed, she takes action.

THEMES: Racism, jealousy, and gender inequality in the workplace.

LANGUAGE: Contains racial slurs and some mild adult language; specific words include “hell” and “damn”

DRINKING/DRUG USE: Mention of drinking alcohol and drunkenness.

VIOLENCE: Description of a lynching and discussions of violence.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE TOPICS OF DISCUSSION: Racism, white-washing, White Savior stories, lynching

LENGTH: Approximately 2 hours with an intermission

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To make your visit a memorable one, we offer several incentives:

  • Each student ticket is only $6 each
  • One complimentary ticket is available per 10 student tickets. [A maximum of 15% of the group may be comprised of chaperones to ensure that as many students as possible have the opportunity to attend our productions.]
  • Study guides will be sent to you prior to the performance to help you prepare your students.

Interested groups can also request post-performance discussions with the actors and/or technicians or tours of the facility to further broaden the educational experience.

Ticket Subsidies:

Student ticket subsidies (STS) for schools are available through the Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC). The application and guidelines can be accessed here
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As a part of the Season for Youth program, discussion guides are available for teachers and are mailed out. Interested groups can also request post-performance discussions with the actors and/or technicians or tours of the facility to further broaden the educational experience.

Note: We are unable to admit children under five (5) years of age. Due to fire code restrictions, lap-seating is strictly prohibited.

Read more about the major benefits for students who attend live theatre!

Please make your reservations as early as possible as reservations are made on a “first come, first served” basis. Student matinees frequently sell out, in which case schools/classes are placed on a waiting list for admission. Students younger than 5 will not be admitted into the theatre auditorium. Changes made to an order after the payment deadline are not guaranteed and are subject to availability.  More information is available by calling the CBT Box Office at (865) 974-5161.

Please send payments to:

University of Tennessee
Clarence Brown Theatre
Attn: Box Office
206 McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996-0420