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Research Guides

Seattle Theatre Archives: Collections of Theatre Companies

A guide to selected primary materials relating to theatrical companies and the history of theatre in Seattle available in Special Collections.

Theater Companies

  • Alice B. Theatre
    Alice B. Theatre was founded in 1984 with the first Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival. Disbanded in the spring of 1996 and reorganized as Alice B. Arts in September 1996, it ceased operations in 1997.

  • Bathhouse Theatre
    The company was founded in 1980 when Arne Zaslove moved the Floating Theatre Company into the Green Lake bathhouse and changed its name to Bathhouse Theatre. Notable productions include holiday performances and versions of Shakespeare’s plays set to modern music. The company ceased operations in 1999.

  • Brown Bag Theatre
    Brown Bag Theatre, founded in 1993, was based at the Newmarket Theatre in downtown Seattle. Comprised of a group of professional actors who performed abridged classical and modern plays during lunch hour, the theatre also leased the space to other companies when it was not using it. Brown Bag disbanded in 1997.

  • A Contemporary Theatre
    A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) was founded in 1965 by Gregory A. Falls. The purpose of ACT was to present professional, contemporary theater--"to produce the important plays of our times, now while they have particular meaning and impact." In the 1980s, ACT evolved from a summer season program to a year-round theatre with its own buildings. Today ACT remains "dedicated to the advancement and preservation of today's contemporary work for future generations."

  • Dues X Machina Theater Company
    Founded in 2005 by Jack Bentz, Deus X Machina was a community-based theater company that created plays with and about communities in Washington State. The company consisted of artists aiming to strengthen communities through the theater and share real-life human experience. The plays were performed by trained actors as well as members of the community. The company disbanded in 2009.

  • Empty Space Theatre
    The Empty Space Theatre produced theatrical shows in various locations. Founded by University of Washington School of Drama graduates in 1971, the company's first home was at the Pike Place Market, moving on to Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, and Fremont, before finally affiliating with Seattle University as its theater-in-residence. The Empty Space ceased operations in October 2006.

  • Federal Theatre Project
    Funded under the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Federal Theatre Project (FTP) was created by the United States Congress in 1935 to provide work for theatre professionals during the Great Depression. Seattle, Washington initially sponsored three units: the Federal Players, the Negro Repertory Company, and Variety/Vaudeville. In 1936, the FTP (Seattle) undertook a year-long survey of all available information about professional dramatic activities in Washington State.

  • Intiman Theater​
    * See Margaret Booker papers under Personal Papers

  • Metropolitan Theatre
    The Metropolitan Theatre opened on October 2, 1911 as a stage house located at 415 University Street. Two years after its opening it began showing movies, and alternated between presenting movies and live theatre. A final performance was held on December 4, 1954, and the theatre was demolished soon after. 

  • Pioneer Square Theater
    Pioneer Square Theater opened in June 1980, producing more than 80 plays. The company also established an annual festival of new works, many by local Seattle playwrights, at various venues in King County before disbanding in 1989.

  • Seattle Group Theatre
    The Group Theatre Company was founded by Rubén Sierra, a University of Washington assistant professor of drama. From 1978 to 1992, the multicultural company was housed at the University of Washington Ethnic Cultural Theatre and from 1993 to 1998 at the Center House Theatre at Seattle Center. The Group Theatre changed its name to Seattle Group Theatre in 1988.

  • Seattle Habima Players
    Yiddish theatre troupe established in 1931 and active through the end of 1941. Plays were directed by Albert N. Youngman.

  • Seattle Junior Theatre
    Long-running children's theatre company in Seattle, Washington, which operated under various names between 1939-1984. Originally known as Seattle Junior Programs, Inc., by the end of the 1970s the name had been changed to Seattle Junior Theatre. In 1984, it merged with the Young ACT Company, a division of A Contemporary Theatre (ACT).

  • Seattle Repertory Playhouse
    Founded in 1928 by Burton and Florence James, the Seattle Repertory Playhouse was a forum for classical theater. It was partially supported by the Federal Theatre Project, a New Deal program. In the 1930s, increasing prominence was given to socially critical productions and the Playhouse established sponsorship of the Negro Repertory Company. Seattle Repertory Playhouse closed in 1951.

  • Seattle Repertory Theatre
    The Seattle Repertory Theatre (SRT) opened in 1963. A non-profit organization, SRT was originally a project of the Century 21 Exposition (Seattle World's Fair). In 1977, a 19 million dollar bond issue was passed, of which 4.8 million was designated for the construction of a new resident theatre, the Bagley Wright Theatre, which opened in 1983. Since then, SRT has expanded with additional spaces, such as the Leo Kreielsheimer Theatre and PONCHO Forum. In 1990, SRT won a Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

  • Washington State Theater
    Non-profit educational institution founded by Washington State Department of Education and the Seattle Repertory Playhouse in 1936. The first of its kind in the nation, its founders operated the theatre as an integral part of the state school system. It received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation for three years of funding and completed five tours of the state's schools before closing in 1939.