Quintessence Theatre Group Announces 11th Season Fate vs. Free Will

Quintessence Theatre Group, Philadelphia’s classic repertory theatre, announces its Fate vs. Free Will season. This award-winning company is celebrated for its language and actor driven epic classical theatre and will resume live performance in 2020 with a season of theatrical masterpieces.

Like other theatres, Quintessence’s fall plans remain TBA, but beginning at the end of November, we will open with our seven-year tradition of family holiday classics, a beloved Frances Hodgson Burnett coming of age drama. 2021 starts with a comedy by America’s bard Thornton Wilder. And the eleventh season will conclude with the Gods vs. Emperors Repertory, Euripides’ greatest tragedy about a ruler who defies a god, performed in repertory with Ionesco’s tragic farce on the meaning of life.

Subscriptions start at $80 and are available on the company’s website www.QTGrep.org or over the phone at 215.987.4450.

“There are many ideas circulating about how the theatre must evolve in the aftermath of COVID-19,” said Artistic Director Alexander Burns. “Quintessence is sticking to its belief that the theatre is a necessary civic space, essential for our community to gather and ask the impossible questions of what it is to be human. We have curated a season of “must-see” classics, which will resonate louder than ever as we work to process, heal, and move forward as a better, stronger society. We believe that if we all work together, we can gather as artists and audiences in a safe and responsible way.”

“We are taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our community,” said Managing Director David Lloyd Olson. “The Sedgwick Theater is a flexible performance venue which allows for the auditorium to be reconfigured depending on the needs of the production. In the current scenario we will follow federal and state guidelines to ensure physical distancing between patrons and between the patrons and artists. We are also consulting with experts on making as many improvements as possible to the venue in order to protect the health and safety of theatre-goers. Quintessence will be thoroughly disinfecting all public areas before and after each performance, and until officials change their recommendations, we will require everyone who enters our venue to wear a mask.” For information on Quintessence’s evolving Health and Safety guidelines please visit our website at www.QTGrep.org/healthandsafety.

Quintessence Theatre Group’s Season XI is made possible with core operating support from the William Penn Foundation. Without this extraordinary underwriting from the William Penn Foundation, and additional funding from the Wyncote Foundation, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and many individual donors, we would not have been able to survive this challenging time and begin programming for a new season.



The Family Holiday Classic
The Little Princess
By Frances Hodgson Burnett

November 25, 2020-January 3, 2021
Opening Night: Friday, December 4, 2020

Beloved for her generosity, kindness, and intelligence, Sara Crewe leads a life straight out of a fairy tale. Amidst the swirl of a lavish thirteenth birthday party, news reaches Miss Minchin’s Boarding School that Sara’s father has died overseas. The family is ruined, and Sara’s fortune vanishes overnight. With no tuition to pay school fees, Sara is stripped of her possessions and banished to an attic, forced to toil as Miss Minchin’s servant. Equipped with only her books, vivid imagination, and the devotion of her well-earned friends, Sara discovers her innate power and that there is more to a meaningful life than pretty dresses and glittering jewels. From the celebrated writer of The Secret Garden, Frances Hodge Bennett’s 1902 play The Little Princess is the perfect holiday adventure for the whole family.

An American Classic
The Skin Of Our Teeth
By Thornton Wilder
February 3-February 28, 2021
Opening Night: Friday, February 12, 2021

George and Maggie Antrobus live a seemingly perfect life in suburban Excelsior, New Jersey with two beautiful children and a maid to attend to them day and night. Over 5,000 years of marriage, the family refuses to let small inconveniences – a fire, flood, the Ice Age, plague, a dozen wars, and as many depressions – get in the way of their survival or happiness. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1943, Thornton Wilder’s boundary-breaking allegorical comedy is a tribute to the disarming optimism, resilience, and indestructibility of the American spirit, while also confronting the paradoxical ideals on which our country was founded.

The Gods Vs. Emperors Repertory

By Euripides
March 30-May 9, 2021
Opening Night: Friday, April 9, 2021

Stirred into a religious frenzy, the women of Thebes disappear into the mountains to perform bacchanalian rituals to the god Dionysus. Pentheus, the King of Thebes, bans worship of the new god, denying Dionysus’ divinity and paternity as the son of Zeus. But when a mysterious stranger arrives in Thebes, Pentheus confesses a desire to witness his people’s new religious ecstasy and is drawn into Dionysus’ web of revenge, one that threatens to plunge all of Thebes into hot madness and destruction. Celebrated as one of the greatest tragedies ever written, Euripides’ explosive drama interrogates the boundaries between man and woman, reason and passion, freedom and order, human and God.

The Chairs
By Eugene Ionesco
Adapted by Martin Crimp
March 31-May 9, 2021
Opening Night: Saturday, April 10, 2021

Reaching the end of their life, an Old Man and his wife invite an audience of the celebrated and powerful to attend an important announcement. Fearful of failing to communicate his discovery, the Old Man engages an Orator to assist him. As the Old Woman prepares chairs for the arriving guests the couple reflect upon their marriage and play their favorite games. A masterpiece of absurdist theatre, Ionesco’s wildly entertaining tragic farce challenges the idea of objective truth and celebrates humankinds’ quixotic quest to discover the meaning of life.


Season XI Subscriptions include fee-free exchanges and free admission to Quintessence’s signature Elemental Recitations play-reading series. Social distancing requirements may require us to decrease our audience capacity by over 50%.  Therefore, purchasing a subscription is the only way theatre-goers can guarantee they will be able to attend the performance they want.

“A subscription is one of the best ways to support the theatre during this challenging time,” says Burns. “Your subscription is an investment in our institution and in the art we create. It allows us to plan forward and employ artists despite the uncertainty of the future. Recovery from the devastation of the pandemic will take time, but a subscription helps to ensure that there will be a future.”

We are also introducing a 10-Trip Ticket for Season XI. The 10-Trip Ticket provides theatre-goers with 10 tickets that can be redeemed in any combination for any production.  10-Trip Tickets cannot be redeemed for sold out performances and expire at the end of the season.

“Our commitment, our tenacity and our audacity has gotten us through our first ten years,” according to Burns. “We will work tirelessly in order to reopen the Sedgwick as a safe space for our community to gather and find inspiration in the classics. By joining us now, you are taking a leap of faith with us. We guarantee that we will honor our commitments to you and our supporters.”

Founded in 2009, award-winning Quintessence Theatre Group uses the classics to explore the fundamental question of what it is to be human in today’s world. Through visceral, and innovative productions of epic theatre, Quintessence pursues its vision to become the Delaware Valley’s center for progressive humanism through classic drama and literature.

Celebrating its 11th season, Quintessence’s home is the historic Sedgwick Theater, an Art Deco movie palace designed in 1928 by William Lee and located in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. Quintessence currently performs in the oval lobby of the original theatre, making the performance venue reconfigurable depending on the demands of the production.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION & PARKING: The Sedgwick Theater is readily accessible via SEPTA Regional Rail to either the Allen Lane Station (Chestnut Hill West) or the Sedgwick Station (Chestnut Hill East). The SEPTA 23/45 Bus also services the Sedgwick Theater, connecting South Philadelphia to Chestnut Hill. Free parking is available behind the theatre and in the municipal parking lot across Germantown Avenue.


Preview Subscriptions: 4 Classics – $80

Weekday Subscriptions: 4 Classics – $112

Anytime Subscriptions: 4 Classics – $124

Senior Subscriptions: 4 Classics – $96

Youth Subscriptions: 4 Classic – $64

Opening Night Subscriptions: 4 Classics – $188

10 Trip Ticket – $299

GROUP SALES & STUDENT MATINEES: Group rates and special weekday student matinees are available. For information on group sales, please call 215.987.4450, Ext. 1, or email BoxOffice@QTGrep.org.

HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDELINES: Please visit www.QTGrep.org/healthandsafety to see Quintessence’s current Health and Safety guidelines and policies as recommended by the CDC and the State of Pennsylvania.


7058 Germantown Avenue, Suite 202, Philadelphia, PA 19119




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