Zilker Theatre Productions (ZTP) is in the middle of its run for its 64th show. Are you and your family excited to attend Matilda at Zilker Hillside Theatre but have unanswered questions? We know how much you’re looking forward to a beautiful evening of FREE theater under the stars. To ensure a seamless experience, here’s a “Know Before You Go” guide with some of ZTPs most FAQs. 

Matilda at Zilker Hillside Theatre runs Thursdays-Sundays until August 12!

Free Admission. No tickets required!

What is Matilda About?

Matilda the Musical is a heartwarming adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel about a brilliant young girl named Matilda Wormwood. Despite facing neglect from her parents and the tyranny of her headmistress, Matilda discovers her extraordinary telekinetic powers and uses them to stand up against injustice and empower herself and her classmates. With the support of her caring teacher, Miss Honey, Matilda embraces the power of knowledge, resilience, and courage, taking control of her destiny and inspiring audiences with her determination to create positive change in her life. This enchanting and inspiring musical celebrates the importance of education, imagination, and standing up for what is right. 

When, where, and how long is Matilda?

Matilda the Musical runs every Thursday-Sunday till August 12th at the Zilker Hillside Theatre. The show starts at 8:15 pm and runs till about 11 pm. No tickets or reservations are needed! The show is free to attend, with donations greatly appreciated to help ZTP continue the summer tradition.

When should I arrive?

The venue is open-seating, so it’s good to come well before the show starts to secure the best view. You can start laying your blankets and low-back chairs at 6 pm. Arriving early ensures you can find a good spot on the Hillside; it also gives you time to cool off at Barton Springs pool before the show starts. 

Image Credit :: Peggy Keelan Photography

Can I bring food?

Bringing food is encouraged! Feel free to bring your picnic and snacks. The theatre area has plenty of space for families to enjoy a meal together before the show. However, alcoholic beverages and glass bottles are not allowed. Zilker Theatre Productions also has a concessions stand to purchase snacks, candies, t-shirts, and more. 

Can I donate to Zilker Theatre Productions?

Most definitely! Every summer, the shows are free, but they are not free to put on. Donations are appreciated and help ZTP keep the tradition alive. During intermission, the cast will come out to the Hillside with buckets for donations. The program also has QR codes if you’d prefer to donate electronically. 

Any considerations for the weather?

As an outdoor venue, keeping an eye on the weather forecast is essential. Bring sunscreen, hats, and insect repellent for added comfort during the performance. If rain is in the forecast, pack rain ponchos or small umbrellas just in case.

What’s parking like? 

Parking is metered by the City of Austin; parking is FREE on Thurs/Fri; On Sat/Sun, parking is free after 6pm. Signs will direct you to Theatre Parking in the Polo Fields at the top of the Hill. The parking near Barton Springs Pool and the Hillside Theatre is blocked off for cast and crew between 6-8 pm. Parking can be limited, so it’s a good idea to carpool. Consider using ride-sharing services or public transportation to reduce traffic congestion.

Are there restrooms?

Restroom facilities and porta potties are available near the entrance of the theatre. Be prepared for some lines during intermission, so plan accordingly.

Image Credit :: Peggy Keelan Photography

What should I wear?

Dress in comfortable and weather-appropriate attire. Wear hats, sunglasses, and an umbrella if you come to lay your blanket at 6pm to protect yourself from the Texas sun. Consider bringing a light sweater or jacket, as temperatures might drop during the evening.

Are there bugs?

Since it’s an outdoor venue surrounded by nature, you might encounter insects. Bees and ants are in no short supply. Apply insect repellent on you and your kids to prevent any unwelcome bug bites.

Image Credit :: Peggy Keelan Photography

Is this show accessible?

Zilker has two accessibility nights with ASL interpretation on July 29th and August 4th. There is also ADA seating. 

At the showing on Saturday, July 29, ACES ABA will be there to facilitate the first sensory cool-down room.

Can I bring lawn chairs?

You can bring your low-back chairs or rent them from ZTP directly for $5/chair. 

Can I take photos or videos?

Feel free to take pictures and capture memories but be sure to turn off the flash during the performance not to distract the actors or other audience members.

Image Credit :: Peggy Keelan Photography

Should I stay after the curtain call?

We’d 100% recommend staying after the show! The actors and actresses always come stage side post-show to meet the audience, sign programs, and take photos. 

Anything else I should know about?

Every Saturday at 7 pm the cast has a dance lesson on stage. You and the kiddos will have fun learning a few eight counts of “Revolting Children.” ZTP also hosts workshops and events throughout the year. One of their core values is to provide free access to the arts, all while inspiring the artists of tomorrow. We highly recommend you follow them on social media or check out their website to keep informed on all their offerings. Who knows, you or your child could audition for a summer show in the near future!

Image Credit :: Peggy Keelan Photography

With these tips in mind, you’re all set for a wonderful evening at Zilker Hillside Theatre to see Matilda. Get ready to be enchanted by the talent on stage and the venue’s beauty. We know you’ll have a fantastic time!

Image Credit :: Peggy Keelan Photography

Zana Carbajal
Zana is wife to Esteban and mama to her four children, Joaquin, Teodoro, and twins Roma & Rosalind. She is a Senior Retail Technology Manager and Co-host of The Strong Sunflowers & Los Girasoles Fuertes podcasts. She was a competitive cheerleader at Hawaii Pacific University, where she pursued her Bachelor’s in Public Relations and Advertising. She is currently working on an online Master’s in Global Strategic Communications from The University of Florida (Go Gators!) She advocates for whole-hearted living and constantly looks for ways to improve her mind, body, heart, and soul. She loves songwriting, singing, and musical theatre and has already warned her kids when they are all over 18+; she is moving to New York City to audition for Broadway.


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