Wilma Theater (Philadelphia)
The Wilma Theater is a non-profit theater company located at 265 S. Broad Street at the corner of Spruce Street in the Avenue of the Arts area of Center City, Philadelphia. The company's current 296-seat theater opened in 1996 and was designed by Hugh Hardy.
The Wilma Theater began in 1973 as the "Wilma Project", founded to produce original material and to develop community-orient artists. The name "Wilma" refers to an imaginary oppressed sister of Shakespeare created by Virginia Woolf. Blanka Zizka and Jiri Zizka from Czechoslovakia joined the project in 1979 as artists-in-residence, and later took over artistic leadership, changing the name to the Wilma Theater. The company staged their productions at a variety of different theaters, in particular a 100-seat converted garage on Sansom Street, but opened their current 296-seat theater on S. Broad Street in 1996.
Productions by the Wilma have been seen at the International Theater Festival in the Czech Republic; in New York City at the Public Theater and Manhattan Theatre Club; the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC; the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey; the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut; and ACT in Seattle. In addition to their presentations and festivals, the Wilma has produced over 100 productions, including 18 world premieres, 13 United States premieres, five East Coast premieres, and 64 Philadelphia premieres. The Wilma also co-produced a feature film broadcast nationally on Great Performances.
The Wilma has worked with notables such as Stephen Sondheim, Tom Stoppard, Christopher Hampton, Doug Wright, and Arthur Miller and produced works by up-and-coming playwrights such as Claudia Shear, Lillian Groag, Chay Yew, Charles L. Mee, Jason Sherman, Dael Orlandersmith, Robert William Sherwood, Sarah Ruhl, Polly Pen, and Laurence Klavan.c.
The Wilma Theater exists to present theater as an art form, engaging artists and audiences in an adventure of aesthetic philosophical reflection of the complexities of contemporary life. We accomplish our mission by producing thoughtful, well-crafted, productions of intelligent, daring plays that represent a range of voices, viewpoints, and production styles.
Awards and honors
- "History" on the Wilma Theater website
- Inqlings: Jiri Zizka ends run at Wilma http://articles.philly.com/2010-08-19/news/24972875_1_jiri-zizka-comcast-network-sansom-street
- Jiri Zizka: 1953-2012, http://wilmatheater.org/jiri-zizka-1953-2012
- "Mission" on the Wilma Theater website
- Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia: The Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre
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