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Philly Theatre Week by Neighborhood: Northwest Philly

Feb 3, 2020

Philly Theatre Week kicks off on February 6th, featuring exclusive Free, $15, and $30 tickets to 300 events across the region. See something new in Northwest Philly! We're interviewing Quintessence Theatre GroupTiny DynamiteAutomatic Arts, and The Stagecrafters. Read on to learn more about each company, hear about good eats around the venue, and what to know before you go!

Philly Theatre Week by Neighborhood: Head to Northwest Philly

Quintessence Theatre Group
Rachel

-What’s the neighborhood where you’re performing during Philly Theatre Week?

Mt Airy (Philadelphia)

-What is unique about working in theatre in this particular area?

Mt Airy is one of the most economically, spiritually, and ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Philadelphia, and our audience reflects that diversity.

-What's the most unique thing about your venue?

The Sedgwick Theater is an art deco movie palace that opened in 1928. Our performance space is the lobby of the original theater. The majesty and patina of the building are a beautiful backdrop to the classic work we produce. There’s also the ghost. Well, we think it’s only one ghost.

-What is one thing that would be cool if people knew about your Theatre Week event before attending?

The playwright, Angelina Weld Grimke, was a queer Black writer and one of the original writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Her play RACHEL is a historic piece of propaganda produced by the NAACP in 1917 at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York to enlighten the American people to the condition of the millions of Black citizens. It was the first time in that city that an all-Black cast performed in front of an integrated audience. In the 103 years since then, the play has never been performed in Philadelphia. Grimke never attained the acclaim her work merited. It was not until the 1980s and 90s when her poetry was rediscovered by lesbian, gay, and bisexual scholars that Grimke was recognized for the exceptional writer she is.

-What might your favorite audience member say to someone who has never been to any of your shows before?

Quintessence produces bold, intellectual plays with classic language and a modern rhythm, style and sound. You’ll be blown away and always entertained.

-Any good eats for before/after your event?

Earth Bread and Brewery is a Mt Airy institution and is right across the street. We also have a new neighbor, Brotherly Grub, who is running a special during theatreWeek if you have a ticket to RACHEL.

Automatic Arts
H
URT and Other Possibilities

-Give us a one-sentence summary about you!
Push button, art is served: Automatic Arts is a Philadelphia-based performing arts company that specializes in original productions, presentations, and championing live performance.

-What’s the neighborhood where you’re performing during Philly Theatre Week? 

HURT and other possibilities Is being performing in Mount Airy, known for its trees, outspoken progressive values, Weavers Way Co-op, and a citizenry not known for their fashion.

Automatic Arts loves performing in Northwest Philly (Germantown, Mt Airy, Chestnut Hill) because it's where we live. We ran the Nice and Fresh performing arts series of new works in various unique venues in the neighborhood. We also present work in Center City, Old City, and various other neighborhoods.

-What is unique about working in theatre in this particular area? 

A lot of smart, opinioned, book reading people live here so they appreciate complex work—or at least they understand it. Also, even though there is a large audience living here who go to theater, there are few options in the neighborhood, especially for original work, so they are always pleasantly surprised that someone would bother doing a show that they could walk to.

-What's the most unique thing about your venue?

Our performance is happening inside this 19th century mansion, above the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts—the school was once a Catholic school and the mansion may have been the church's as well—in any event we will be performing in a large parlor room with lots of dark ornate wood and stateliness. You could very easily imagine the dude from Jane Eyre standing in the middle of it, harrumphing. It's a nice combo of bohemian and slightly menacing 19th century-ness.

-What is one thing that would be cool if people knew about your Theatre Week event before attending?

It's the best thing we've done this year.

-What might your favorite audience member say to someone who has never been to any of your shows before?

Our work puts audiences in front of situations that seem both very real and simultaneously very absurd—and even serious pieces have a lot of very funny moments.

-Any good eats for before/after your event?

Yes!

Earth Bread and Brewery 7136 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19119

Mount Airy Tap Room 300 W Mt Pleasant Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19119

McMenamins 7170 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19119

Tiny Dynamite
Valentine's Day 2020, with Tiny Dynamite

-Give us a one-sentence summary about you!

Tiny Dynamite serves up plays, pizza, and drinks through our one-act play series A Play, a Pie, and a Pint.

-What’s the neighborhood where you’re performing during Philly Theatre Week?

We'll be at Manayunk Brewing Company, on Main Street in Philadelphia's Manayunk neighborhood. Our venue has a beautiful spot on the Schuylkill River and is close to the restaurants, bars, and shops of Manayunk.

This is our first time at Manayunk Brewing Company. We perform at non-traditional and site specific venues across the city.

-What is unique about working in theatre in this particular area?

Our venue has a beautiful spot on the Schuylkill River and is close to the restaurants, bars, and shops of Manayunk. There's free parking in the venue's adjacent lot!

It's a gorgeous second floor event space. There's a tin ceiling over the bar area and views of Main Street on one side, and the river on the other. Also, since it's not a traditional theatre space, you're welcome to enjoy a slice of pizza and a beer or glass of wine during the show--these come included with your ticket.

-What is one thing that would be cool if people knew about your Theatre Week event before attending?

It's a perfect way to spend a low-key, low-cost Valentine's Day: lots of laughs, a drink, a bite to eat. Skip the overpriced, overhyped restaurant experience!

-What might your favorite audience member say to someone who has never been to any of your shows before?

Their shows are funny, they're welcoming, and you're always in for a surprise.

-Any good eats for before/after your event?

The main dining room of our venue, Manayunk Brewing Company, has a wide-ranging pub menu.

Stagecrafters Theater
White Guy on the Bus by Bruce Graham

-Give us a one-sentence summary about you!

Stagecrafters is a semi-professional theater serving Philadelphia and its surrounding areas for over 91 years.

-What is the neighborhood where you're performing?

Stagecrafters is located in the heart of the historic Chestnut Hill section of northwest Philadelphia.

-What is unique about the venue?

We produce five full theatrical productions a year that encompass a wide range from classics to edgy contemporary fare.

The auditorium accommodates an audience over 180 and is air-conditioned and fully handicapped accessible.

-What might your favorite audience member say to someone who has never been to any of your shows before?

"Excellent performances in a comfortable theater."

-Any good eats?

Absolutely! The Chestnut Hill area has many interesting, varied restaurants.

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See what's on stage during Philly Theatre Week: www.phillytheatreweek.com
Download the Phily Theatre Week Guide to see more performances in Northwest Philly

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