May 27 - December 23, 2016
Founded in 1966 by John E. Allen, Jr., Philadelphia’s New Freedom Theatre is Pennsylvania’s oldest African American repertory theatre. Its mission is dedicated to artistic excellence in the performing arts and theatrical arts education. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, New Freedom Theatre has been described as a “first-class repertory company which invigorates the American theatre through its excellent productions that illuminate the multifaceted African American experience.” In the early 1990s, the theatre was named among the top black theatres in the United States by the prestigious Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
New Freedom Theatre is also known for its service to the community, offering a professional Performing Arts Training Program teaching acting, dance, and vocal arts. Since the program’s inception more than 30 years ago, over 10,000 students from pre-school to adults have participated. Described as a “cultural centerpiece for the City,” the theatre’s commitment to its community has proven very successful as its performances and educational programs have directly impacted its surrounding North Philadelphia neighborhoods. “We are forging deeper community connections with diverse and passionate audiences to bring a new sense of freedom to theatre and to Philadelphia,” said Executive Director Sandra Haughton.
Located in the former mansion of Philadelphia-born Edwin Forrest, considered one of America’s foremost actors of the early 1800s, New Freedom Theatre converted the home into a state-of-the-art theatre that includes rehearsal and studio spaces. Designated a National Historical Landmark, New Freedom Theatre is proud of its past accomplishments and will continue to “move forward towards a creative and impactful future,” said Haughton.