Freedom Repertory Theatre
A landmark of American theater history
Called the “northern anchor” of Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, the nation’s leading African-American theater is housed in a state-of-the-art facility in the historic mansion that once belonged to Edwin Forrest — America’s first internationally recognized stage actor — in North Philadelphia.
A Freedom season might combine its signature play, Black Nativity, now considered an official city tradition; a classic by a black author such as James Baldwin; an original work by an emerging author and a stage adaptation of a popular film, such as the highly acclaimed Sparkle, put on last year with the help of scribe Ntozake Shange and currently being turned into a touring production.
Freedom Theatre was established by director John Allen in 1966 to provide black children in Philadelphia with nuanced dramatic role models as well as a place to explore theater firsthand. In 1992 Artistic Director Walter Dallas took the helm, renovating and elevating Freedom to global recognition with accolades from the Barrymores and the NAACP, among others.
Freedom Theatre is located next door to another prominent historical landmark, the legendary Blue Horizon boxing venue.
Freedom’s annual production of Black Nativity, inspired by Langston Hughes’ gospel play, is a family-friendly show with vibrant music and dance.