One of the oldest and largest community theaters in the country, the Erie Playhouse is an award-winning community theater in Northwest Pennsylvania that presents an array of performances, shows, and concerts throughout the year. Hailed as one of the top ten community theaters in the nation, the Erie Playhouse boasts 12,000 square feet of space, a proscenium-style stage, and seating for up to 433 patrons.

1.History & Education

History & Education
© Erie Playhouse

Established in 1882 as the 'People's Theater,' the Erie Playhouse did not have a permanent base and performed in various venues around the city. The first productions were presented in the H.V. Claus Block building situated on State Street between 10th and 12th Streets (it was here that theater was incorporated as the Erie Civic Theatre Association in 1916) and later at the Reed Hotel near North Park Row between until 1919. The theater then relocated to the Keystone Brass Foundry where it presented an array of performances and productions until 1927.

In 1929, the company built its facility in 1929 on West 7th Street between Peach and Sassafras Streets and operated continuously here until 1965, save for a three-year period during World War II. After the site had been sold to Gannon University, the company moved to the Penn Movie House in Wesleyville where they stayed until 1975 when fire regulations forced the building to be shut down. In 1983, the Erie Civic Theatre Association bought and renovated the Strand Theatre at 13 West 10th Street in downtown Erie, where it's the first production was Annie and which it still occupies today.


The Erie Playhouse promotes theater and the performing arts within the community by offering a range of educational programs, classes, camps and workshops for all ages in the form of a Youtheater Program. Classes cater for all ages from beginners to advanced and include Acting, Musical Theater, Creative Drama and Movement, Voice and Musicianship, Singing for the Stage, College Music Audition Prep, Understanding your Voice, Fundamentals of Music, Basic Musicianship, and Group Voice for Adults. The Playhouse also offers internships and scholarships.

The Erie Playhouse has teamed up with the United Way of Erie County to present a new initiative called PLAYtime, which uses theater and the arts to make books come alive. Designed to help young children enter Kindergarten with a love of books, PLAYtime also aims to provide the building blocks to encourage children to become enthusiastic readers. The program offers classroom sessions and Parent and Me workshops, which encourage learner's families to get involved and promote a love of books at home.

The SHOWSTOPPERS Program presents an opportunity for keen students to be picked for the talented song and dance troupe that performs musical variety shows for functions, festivals, parties and holiday events throughout the year.

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2.Events and Shows

Events and Shows
© Erie Playhouse

The Erie Playhouse presents a sensational season of diverse and thought-provoking musicals and plays, as well as a captivating calendar of musicals for the young theatre-goer as part of their dynamic Youtheatre program. There are also an array of one-of-a-kind concerts and fascinating special events to enjoy throughout the year. The Erie Playhouse 2017-2018 season includes Mamma Mia!, Jack and the Beanstalk, Annie, Petite Rouge, Deathtrap, Sunday in the Park with George, Clybourne Park, A Collaboration with the Erie Philharmonic, Junie B. Jones, Camelot, Boeing Boeing, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Visitor Information

The Erie Playhouse is situated at the Strand Theatre at 13 West 10th Street in downtown Erie and presents performances and productions throughout the year. Parking is available on State Street, Peach Street, and a city-run parking garage is located at East 10th and French Streets. Regular box office hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. The theater has a concession stand that offers a offers a variety of non-alcoholic drinks and sweets, as well as alcoholic beverages during non-Youtheatre events.

Back to: Things to Do in Erie, PA

13 West 10 Street, Erie, PA 16501, website, Phone: 814-454-2852

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Things to Do in Erie, PA: Erie Playhouse