From the Forum – Local Theater?

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Local Theater?:

“There’s a ton of local theater in the area. Any fave theater venues to attend?

Also, are any of the local universities ‘the’ theater university? I have noticed in my home state that there was a huge disparity between the quality of the theater departments at different universities.”

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23 Comment

  • Arena Stage is my favorite. Stay far away from The Source!

    • How can you say that? The Source is a black box theater, home to many productions and companies. In that context, it’s unfair to blame the venue if you saw something you didn’t like.

      • True, the particular play I saw was offensive to South Asians (I guess some would call it “edgy”) and the acting was terrible, but I was referring more to the venue itself. The staff is arrogant and rude, the seating is rickety and uncomfortable, it’s hard to get seating together if you’re in a group, and the venue is either sweltering or freezing depending on what section you’re in. Even if it were a good play I wouldn’t want to put up with all that. just to see it.

  • Aglets

    Wooly Mammoth is probably doing the most adventurous and interesting new works around. Source is kind of a crap shoot. I had a friend interview for a position at Georgetown and their program sounded interesting (full disclosure: I was a theatre major in college) but I haven’t seen any productions there) but UMD i think probably has the best staff and facilities for theatre in the area.

  • tonyr

    I like Studio and Wooly Mammoth based on the variety of shows and the generally consistent quality. Also doesn’t Catholic have a good department, possibly surprisingly.

  • Studo Theater and Woolly Mammoth are my favorites. Arena is also great but more expensive and less experimental work. Constellation Theater is also a gem.

  • jim_ed

    We’ve held season tickets to Shakespeare Theatre Company for several years. The productions aren’t exactly adventurous, but they’re generally excellently done.

  • Synetic Theater is quirky and different. I wouldn’t want season passes, but every couple of years I enjoy seeing something there.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    I have a subscription to Arena Stage and go to 8 plays – I take my sister to a couple as her Christmas present. It’s fun and there’s good food at Cantina Marina. Also watch the JCC for Theatre J. My mom and I went to see Theodore Bikel just before he died and it was fantastic.

  • Affordable and daring? Taffety Punk, Rorschach, No Rules, Constellation, Forum…

    DC is the second largest theater city (after NYC obviously). So much to see!!

  • Catholic and GW both have graduate programs and their grads are very well-represented in DC theater.

  • Plenty of good theater in DC! I generally prefer the edgier contemporary plays at the Woolly Mammoth and Studio theaters, but I also adore almost anything by Taffety Punk and Synetic. All of the aforementioned are usually quite affordable. The Shakespeare Theater, Kennedy Center, and Arena Stage in DC, and the Signature Theater in Arlington, have some great offerings, too, but come with a much heftier price tag. Of the university theater programs, I understand that Catholic has the best reputation. But Georgetown and the University of Maryland have brought in good productions at good prices. Also Roundhouse in Bethesda and Silver Spring sometimes have good stuff, as do tiny theater companies based at the Atlas and the Writer’s Workshop in Bethesda. Lots to explore!

  • I’ve liked almost everything by Taffety Punk (performs at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop) and Rorschach (performs at Atlas), both already mentioned. The Anacostia Playhouse is similar in terms of price and does some interesting stuff. I also enjoy Theater J (performs at the Jewish Community Center), which almost always has discount codes, and Keegan Theatre (on Church Street).

    Further out from the city, Olney Theatre leans toward family-friendly shows but does solid work.

  • I’m proud to be working with a brand new theatre company called the District Arts Collaborative. I believe it’s the ONLY community theatre in DC. Our goal is to provide performing opportunities for folks who have talent and passion but also DC day jobs. Please check out our upcoming production of The Last Five Years, which we’ll be performing at Cobalt, of all places.

    • St Mark’s Players is a community theater in DC that’s been around for decades. It performs at St. Mark’s Church in Capitol Hill but is mostly independent from the church. Currently Dracula is performing:

      St. Mark’s Players also spun off Fat and Greasy Citizens Brigade (, which is community theater that does free outdoor Shakespeare in the summer.

  • Woolly Mammoth is definitely one of my favorites, and I also enjoy Studio Theater and the Keegan Theater in Dupont. If you like going to theater regularly, you should sign up for Goldstar. They have discount tickets to a lot of the plays.

  • So, so, so many great theaters. Depends on what you’re looking for. A lot of the venues do both plays and musicals, so you have myriad options there. My favorites being Keegan, Studio, Theater J, all in or around the Dupont Circle or Logan area. I agree with the poster who talked about Goldstar as well. Even when I’m not sure of something I want to see, Goldstar always reminds me of what’s out there, and at discounted prices. signature is also a great venue, and there’s so much to do around there as well, pre and post show.

  • I’ve loved everything I’ve seen at Arena Stage, but it’s pretty expensive (probably second only to the Kennedy Center).

    Keegan Theater is good, and what I would consider a ‘true’ community theater. Most theaters around DC are professional theaters, employing professional actors from all over the place, which is great, but not what we might call ‘community’ theater.

    Another thing you might check out is the local improv and storytelling scene. DC actually had some great troops around town. SpeakEasyDC, Washington Improv, and Story League are some favorites.

    • No biggie, but Keegan does not consider itself to be community theater. It’s not an Equity company, but actors, etc., do receive some compensation, and they consider themselves to be professional.

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