The Best Philly Theater Companies You’ve Never Heard Of

Three people standing in front of a mural of Malcolm X in the eponymous Philly park.

Philadelphia is home to one of the most vibrant and eclectic theater communities in the country, from visionary takes on beloved classics to experimental new works. Yet if you try to Google a list of companies in the area, you’ll more likely than not get a list of either the larger theater companies that can afford good search engine optimization, or which AMC is showing Death on the Nile. Here are just a few companies that might have slipped through your internet browsing but should not slip your notice as an audience member!

Theatre in the X

Between its location in Malcolm X Park and offering no-cost tickets, Theatre in the X provides broader access to theater, especially for West Philadelphia residents and the African-American community. They have a GoFundMe running right now for their upcoming production of Dreamgirls, which you can find on their website

Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists (PAPA)

Centering Pan-Asian stories and artists is just one of the many goals of PAPA, which provides both theatrical and non-theatrical programming for its community members and beyond. Their production of Cowboy vs. Samurai is running at Hedgerow Theater from now until February 27th! Learn more at

Power Street Theatre

They just debuted a brand-new logo, and that’s just one of the many exciting happenings at Power Street Theatre! This company, dedicated to uplifting multicultural artists and communities, is currently offering a program called “Land&Body” which provides free acting lessons for adults in North Philadelphia. Visit to see everything they have in store.

Shakespeare in Clark Park

Hungry for some classic outdoor Shakespeare? This company offers that and more for free! In addition to their annual summer productions of Shakespeare’s catalog, they also produce original works inspired by the Bard to engage the local community. Discover their takes on the classics at

The Hum’n’bards Theater Troupe

Okay, fine, this is a company I work for. BUT! In my defense, we are a queer collective that focuses on original DIY productions, and I think that’s noteworthy. Check out to learn more about our gay little plays.

Honorable Mentions

I could write paragraphs and paragraphs about Philly’s theater community…and I will! But not all at the same time, there’s only so many pages in this paper. For now, I leave you with just a few more companies I feel are doing terrific work in the area:

Revolution Shakespeare, Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Collective, Acting Without Boundaries, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, Hella Fresh Theater, Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, and New Freedom Theater

Finally, an insider tip: if you want a full list of nearly every Philadelphia theater company, a good place to start is Theatre Philadelphia’s website.

    • Portrait of CJ Higgins

      CJ Higgins (they/them) is a queer and transgender theatre artist who specializes in performance, music, devising, directing, production, and whatever else a show needs at a given moment because that's Philly for you.

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