How Big Is That Theater? Seating capacities of Philadelphia theaters


Some of the 1,054 seats at the Walnut Street Theatre.

The other day I wondered about the seating capacity of a theater in Philadelphia. I found the answer (Arden’s Arcadia stage can be arranged to seat 175) through Google, but it took some digging to then compare the seating capacity I found to the seating capacity of other theaters in Philadelphia. So I thought I’d put together a list of theater sizes in Philadelphia.

The numbers are drawn from a bunch of places: theater About Us or rental pages, Wikipedia, old press releases, and published articles. Generally the given theater sizes are for the largest possible seating configuration, and many theaters will hold fewer audience members for most performances. The list includes most theaters where I’ve seen a play or theater-like piece in Philadelphia in the last few years. I generally didn’t include venues like galleries or temporary spaces that use fold-out seats or the like to hold theater shows. If you have any corrections or additions email me.

For reference, a Broadway theater in NYC has 500 or more seats, an Off Broadway theater has 100-499 seats, and an Off Off Broadway theater has 99 or fewer seats.

Seat installation in the new FringeArts theater at 140 N. Columbus Boulevard (Photo credit: Courtesy of FringeArts)

Seat installation in the FringeArts theater at 140 N. Columbus Boulevard in 2013.

Seating Capacity for Philadelphia theaters

  • Kimmel Center Verizon Hall: 2,600
    • Kimmel Center Perelman Theater: 650
    • Kimmel Center SEI Innovation Studio: 120
  • Academy of Music (owned by Philadelphia Orchestra): 2,509
  • Merriam Theater (operated by Kimmel Center): 1,870
  • Forrest Theater (owned by Shubert Organization): 1,851
  • Walnut Street Theater: 1,054
    • Walnut Street Independence on 3: 80
    • Walnut Street Studio 5: 52
  • Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Zellerbach Theater: 960
    • Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Harold Prince Theater: 211
    • Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Montgomery Theater: 120
  • Prince Theater Mainstage: 446
    • Prince Theater Independence Stage: 120
  • Drexel University Mandell Theater: 424
    • Drexel University URBN Annex: 110
  • Suzanne Roberts Theatre (Philadelphia Theatre Company): 365
  • Arden Theatre F. Otto Hass: 360
    • Arden Theatre Arcadia Stage: 175
  • New Freedom Theater: 299
  • Wilma Theater: 296
  • Plays & Players Theatre: 290
    • Plays & Players Skinner Studio: 65
  • FringeArts: 232
  • University of the Arts Arts Bank: 230
  • Painted Bride: 225
  • Latvian Society Theater: 200
  • The Drake Proscenium Theater: 121
    • The Drake Louis Bluver Theater: 80
  • St. Stephen’s Theater (Lantern Theater Company): 120
  • Adrienne PlayGround: 120
    • Adrienne Mainstage: 100
    • Adrienne Second Stage: 55
  • Performance Garage: 110
  • Christ Church Neighborhood House Theater 100–200
  • Papermill Theater: 36+

Defunct theaters I thought about while I was putting together this list: Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, Shubin Theatre, Society Hill Playhouse, Brick Playhouse, Walking Fish, that church that housed Azuka and Inis Nua, that church that Luna Theater briefly converted, that theater at the bottom of the Bourse.

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.