About Freedom Theatre
Founded by John E. Allen, Jr. in 1966, Freedom Theatre is Pennsylvania's oldest African-American theatre. In 1968 Robert E. Leslie joined Freedom Theatre and founded the Performing Arts Training Program in 1971. After John E. Allen, Jr.'s death in 1992, nationally acclaimed director Walter Dallas became Freedom's Artistic Director.
(Pictured left to right are John E. Allen, Jr., actress-singer Melba Moore, and Walter Dallas at the 1989 Opening Night reception for Langston Hughes' musical Simply Heavenly starring Ms. Moore and directed by Mr. Dallas.)
In 1993, Mr. Dallas created Freedom Rep, the professional performing company of Freedom Theatre. Since then, Freedom has grown from a small community theatre to an award-winning, nationally recognized regional theatre, only the second African-American theatre to have joined the prestigious League of Resident Theatres (LORT).
"Freedom showed that theater is not about bright lights and big budgets, but rather the stories through which we find the ability to discover ourselves."
In 2001, after receiving multiple accolades including awards for Best Drama, Original Music, Set Design, Choreography, Lead Actress in a Drama, Supporting Actress in a Musical, Costume Design, and Direction, Freedom Theatre was named "Theatre of the Year" by the Philadlephia Weekly.
In 2008, Artistic Director Walter Dallas stepped down .
Today, Freedom Theatre consists of two components: the Barrymore Award-winning Performing Arts Training Program, (Patricia Scott Hobbs, Director) and Facilities Rental (Gail Leslie, Director). These components work hand-in-hand to provide training in the performing arts and comprehensive customer service and community access.
Playwright August Wilson visits Dallas' Cooley High
Freedom Theatre is located on Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts, in the historic Edwin Forrest Mansion at 1346 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19121.