Unexpected Cities with Great Theatre Scenes

by Mar 13, 2018

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“I have a third cousin once removed who dated a guy once whos uncle worked for Disney, maybe I could help you out”

When an individual pursuing theatre finds themselves in a regular, everyday conversation about professions and interests, they can definitely get a mixed bag of responses upon sharing theirs. Comments like “Oh wow, how FUN” or “That’s a really difficult field” or “I have a third cousin once removed who dated a guy once whos uncle worked for Disney, maybe I could help you out” are just a brief sampling of the replies one might get.

A lot of times though, the commenter will immediately jump to asking if you plan to go to New York or Los Angeles. You may think, well no, neither of those places sounds good to me, but I know there’s got to be good theatre happening elsewhere too. And guess what, stumped theatre person? You would be right. In fact, we’ve actually compiled a list of cities that may fly under the radar, but that still have a great theatre scene.

So next time you’re faced with the question of “New York or L.A.”, throw out “New Orleans” and enjoy the surprised look on your companion’s face. You’ll look intelligent, aware, and ambitious. Nobody was ever upset about that.

#1 Philadelphia

Home to the oldest continuously operating theatre in the nation, The Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia has a lot to offer in regards to regional theatre. Places like the Suzanne Roberts Theatre host world premieres, while the Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe boast a wide variety of opportunities. There are several renowned resident theatres in the city as well. Worth checking out, undoubtedly. Then you also have an excuse to pick up a genuine Philly Cheese Steak in between callbacks.

#2 South Florida

Alright, we recognize that this isn’t just one individual city (don’t worry, we’ll consistently disregard that, see further down the list) but this general area is worth mentioning! Cities like Vero Beach, Miami, Coral Gables and others possess a combined number of over 30 theatres, including many equity houses. The Actor’s Playhouse, for example, is an award-winning professional company that is celebrating 28 years of excellent productions. Obviously, you would want to live in Florida anyway, so might as well do some theatre while you’re there, right?

#3 DC

Apart from being central to the nation’s government, Washington, DC is home to a thriving theatre scene. In fact, it is second only to New York in the annual number of theatre performances produced per capita. That is, in fact, pretty darn cool. Notable theatres include the African Continuum Theatre, the Signature Theatre (won some Tony Awards, it’s casual) and the Ford’s Theatre, to name a few. Well worth checking out, we’d say!

#4 The Twin Cities

Minneapolis and St. Paul are a dynamic duo that embraces the arts, and theatre specifically. Noteworthy opportunities abound, such as the Twin Cities Actor Expo, which is an educational networking and training event for experienced and novice actors alike. Places like the Guthrie Theatre, the Ordway Center, and the Park Square Theatre give countless directors, designers, and performers the chance to hone their skills. The Minnesota Fringe Festival is yet another fun chance for theatre artists to coalesce.

#5 New Orleans

According to the Actor Equity Union’s 2018 Regional Theatre Report, New Orleans is the fastest growing theatre market in the country. Over the last three theatre seasons, the region saw a 68% increase in actor work weeks. So if you’re making plans for the future, keep The Big Easy in mind. Places like the Southern Rep Theatre and other nationally recognized local theaters have already contributed greatly to this growth, and there is no doubt that other opportunities will continue to emerge. If being a working artist is your goal (I mean, who would want that?) keep an eye on New Orleans!

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According to the Actor Equity Union’s 2018 Regional Theatre Report, New Orleans is the fastest growing theatre market in the country.

Sources for this article
  • http://www.actorsequity.org/NewsMedia/news2018/RegionalTheatreReport2018.asp
  • http://www.actorsequity.org/NewsMedia/WordPDF/ActorsEquity_RegionalTheatreReport_Web.pdf
  • https://actinginlondon.co.uk/best-location-for-an-acting-career/#
  • http://artsamerica.org/genres/genres-theater/
  • Photos from Unsplash

What do you think? Heard of or visited any other cities that had an unexpectedly phenomenal theatre scene? Please share below!


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