11-day Philadelphia Theatre Week returns to region next month

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Theatre Exile in Philadelphia has not had an audience in over a year. But next month two dozen theatres across the region will raise their curtains, so to speak, for the return of Philly Theatre Week.

"Theatre Week allows people to find their way back to the arts," said Deborah Block, the producing artistic director at Theatre Exile.

The 11-day festival will breathe life into Philadelphia's arts and culture industry, a $4.1 billion economic engine.

"We were severely hit. We were kind of the first people to close when everything happened, and we'll probably be the last sector to come back out to full capacity," said LaNeshe Miller-White, the executive director of Theatre Philadelphia, a group that's dedicated to uniting, celebrating, and promoting the region's diverse and growing theatre community.

Theatre Philadelphia says they expect to have at least 40 events, including radio plays, virtual productions, but only few in-person shows.

"It's a big deal to have this 11-day festival," said Miller-White.

The traditional performances will look a little different, but it's a challenge theatres are embracing at a time when everyone must be adaptable.

"I think that's the whole purpose of Theatre Week,'' said Block. "We all take part in our ways. So Theatre Week is saying, 'Let's help you out to find what's going on in a safe way, easy way so you can reengage in the arts.'"

Many theatres are hoping to formally have in-person events later in the year, but having the festival this year is a big deal for the industry.

Theatre Week kicks off on April 22.
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