Curtain rises on Philly Theatre Week

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Philly Theatre Week includes the Walnut Street Theatre's production of

Philly Theatre Week includes the Walnut Street Theatre's production of "The Humans" with (from left) Mary Martello, Greg Wood, Jennie Eisenhower and Alex Keiper. (Photo courtesy of Mark Garvin)

For its inaugural run, Philly Theatre Week has already expanded beyond its scope. The first of what is hoped to be an annual week to promote local theater will last 10 days.

Theatre Week occurs as the second half of the season begins; theaters have emerged from the holidays with new productions in the wings. Many of the offerings listed were already scheduled, but ticket prices have been reduced to $15 or $30.

Many independent theater artists are restaging previous material for Theatre Week. They include “The Fleecing,” which Almanac Dance Circus Theater created in 2016, and “Alchemist,” which Mary Tuomanen and Chris Davis debuted at the Fringe Festival in the fall.

The Renegade Company invented something wholly new for Theatre Week. For “Kensington Fragments: Selections form The Olde Man and the Delaware River,” director Mike Durkin created a performance project in collaboration with residents of Kensington, with perspectives on the neighborhood’s issues with homelessness, addiction, and gentrification.

Talks and panel discussions about the state of theater in the city are set primarily for people who work in the theater industry — or want to. Those are free.

And the Free Library of Philadelphia’s central branch has pulled together a pop-up exhibition about the history of theater in the city. The rare books department has an extensive and impressive collection of theater documents and ephemera stretching back to the 19th century. It is one of the largest historical collections in any public library for an art form that, by design, struts and frets its hour upon the stage then is heard no more.

View a complete listing of Philly Theatre Week performances.

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