Hedgerow Theater in Rose Valley Celebrates 100 Years

The exterior of Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley, once a 19th century grist mill
Image via Emma Lee, WHYY
The exterior of Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley, once a 19th century grist mill

Hedgerow Theatre turns 100 this year. It is one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the Philadelphia region, topped only by the Walnut’s 215-year history, writes Peter Crimmins for WHYY.

It runs out of a 19th-century grist mill in Rose Valley, and it’s launched more than a few careers, said executive artistic director Marcie Bramucci.

Hedgerow has been called “the mother of Philadelphia theater.”

“We’re deeply entwined in this ecosystem of Philadelphia theater,” Bramucci said. “People’s Light was founded out of Hedgerow, and Curio Theatre and New Freedom Theatre, and others in New York.”

Ann Harding, Austin Pendleton, and Keanu Reeves have all graced the Hedgerow Theatre stage.

The company started in 1923 as a collective repertory theater founded by New York actor/director Jasper Deeter.

“He came to Rose Valley and fell in love with this particular building and this community, which was anchored in the Arts and Crafts movement,” said Bramucci.

Deeter welcomed new work at his theater and formed ties with contemporary playwrights like Eugene O’Neill, George Bernard Shaw, and Sean O’Casey.

Company members initially lived in a nearby farmhouse, working together to run the theater. The farmhouse is now on the National Registry of Historic Places.

 Read more about the Hedgerow Theatre at WHYY

Find out more about the Hedgerow Theatre.

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