The Wilma Theater
Philadelphia’s most thought-provoking mid-size theater
The Wilma is serious about theater as art. Think poetic vision. Think metaphor. Think philosophical interpretation of contemporary life. The Wilma was created by Blanka and Jiri Zizka, its Czech co-artistic directors who formerly lived and directed theater in Eastern and Western Europe.
Performances have ranged from the international drama of Bertolt Brecht and Tom Stoppard to American plays by Tina Howe, Romulus Linney and Quincy Long. Innovative collaborations have included Every Good Boy Deserves Favor — working with the Philadelphia Orchestra to fuse the theater of Tom Stoppard and the music of Andre Previn. It also hosts the successful Danceboom! series in January. All this happens in theater architect Hugh Hardy’s 1996 space on Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts — Broad Street — just south of City Hall.
Established in 1973 as the temporary Wilma “Project,” it quickly became known for presenting local artists and original, avant-garde work. Later, the Zizkas helped put it on a permanent footing with their fresh adaptation of Animal Farm. In 1981, the Wilma found a small Sansom Street theater that it quickly outgrew, so in 1996 it moved to its current 302-seat home, where its shows still sell out.
Know a wannabe? The Wilma offers fellowships to young professionals looking for substantial real-world industry experience.
In the neighborhood
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118-128 N. Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19102
- Philadelphia International
Festival of the Arts (PIFA)
- Merriam Theater
- PIFA Street Fair
- Holiday POPS!
- The Philadelphia Orchestra
- Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker
- Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
- Arch Street United Methodist Church
- Philly POPS! On Independence 2014
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