The Wilma Theater

See video
The Wilma Theater
265 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Contact Phone Number: 
(215) 546-7824
Contact Email Address:

The Wilma Theater creates living, adventurous art. We engage artists and audiences in imaginative reflection on the complexities of contemporary life. We present bold, original, well-crafted productions that represent a range of voices, viewpoints, and styles.


As a young person I used to look up to Art believing that I was promised an answer to the question of how to live. But Art turns out to be a big deceiver when pressed to respond to these kind of demands; I've found that Art has no answers at all. Art probes, questions, explores, challenges, and invites us to new encounters.

When audience members enter the Wilma, they are invited to encounter somebody else’s story, perspective, or idea; they are invited into an act of collective reflection and imagination, to consider the lives, conflicts, circumstances, passions, and ideas of others.

We produce both contemporary and classical plays that offer the potential to reveal connections and analogies to current political, social, and cultural complexities and issues. We search for plays that are both emotionally and intellectually complex, and that may be ambiguous, with possible multiple meanings. Whether poetic, abstract, or vernacular, we look for language that is deeply connected to human emotions.

Even though the inspiration and foundation of artistic collaborations is text, the Wilma's productions are a synthesis of many artistic disciplines, including the visual arts, musical composition, sound and lighting designs, choreography, and of course acting.

The scope and form we look for in plays demands design choices that are bold and original. Drawing on poetic images and metaphors, the artists create a theatrical world that resonates with the underlying themes of the play. Each play receives unique consideration and treatment; there is no recipe and no routine to the collaborative process of designing the physical world of the play.

In a rehearsal room the text becomes the spoken word. The actors breathe into it meaning, music, sound and rhythm. They make the text physical, immediate, and present. The physical presence of actors, their craft, their flexibility, their readiness to take and be taken, their total commitment to the present moment – these all are the necessary ingredients needed to make the text come alive.

The Wilma has an ambition to become a true artistic home, where all the artists involved in creating theater can experiment, learn, engage, collaborate, strive to get better, and where they are even allowed to fail. Francisco Goya's pencil drawing of an old man leaning on a cane has a caption that says “I'm still learning.” It is a powerful image recognizing learning as a potent and ongoing force in life and work.

I am a US citizen, who speaks English with an accent. I lived my formative years in Czechoslovakia, a state that no longer exists. As a person whose life can be easily divided into two, before and after leaving my native country, I'm attracted to plays that explore themes of identity and belonging, dramatic transformations of human beings, losses, searches for meaning in life, beliefs and passions, betrayal and seduction, the role of time in our lives, memories, and the limitations of language.

- Blanka Zizka, Artistic Director