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Pittsburgh Public Theater

Pittsburgh Public Theater

The mission of Pittsburgh Public Theater is to provide artistically diverse theatrical experiences of the highest quality.

Pittsburgh Public Theater also strives to serve, challenge, stimulate and entertain while operating in a fiscally responsible manner. The Public shares its resources with the community through education and outreach initiatives intended for a wide range of people with the goal of expanding and diversifying the audience while enriching the community.


Margaret Rieck, Ben Shaktman, and Joan Apt founded Pittsburgh Public Theater. It was chartered in 1974 and opened in September 1975 after a decade in which the city had become known nationally as an unenthusiastic theater town. Once a major stop on the pre-Broadway circuit, there was no longer a suitable venue for road shows after the city lost the beautiful “Old” Nixon Theatre. Even worse, a similar fate was anticipated for the “New” Nixon. The Pittsburgh Playhouse, once the flagship of American community theaters, had also closed, leaving only smaller community theaters, colleges and universities to keep the art form alive.

The broad-based efforts of many private and public individuals throughout the community contributed to the successful launch of Pittsburgh Public Theater. Commitments to ensure full funding of the first season were made before it’s opening. A strong volunteer organization was developed, community outreach programs were created, and 7,100 subscriptions sold (t

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