History of Signature | Signature Theatre

History of Signature

A Brief History

Signature Theatre is a Tony Award®-winning, non-profit professional theater company with a mission to produce contemporary musicals and plays, reinvent classic musicals, develop new work, and reach its community through engaging educational and outreach opportunities.

Signature’s “positively swanky” (New York Times) two-theatre complex opened in 2007 on Arlington’s Campbell Avenue.

Just two decades ago, Washington, DC’s theater scene was dominated by large venues that presented mostly traditional plays. Few theaters dared to take the risk of producing new work, and even fewer produced lesser-known or new musicals. Today, Signature Theatre broadens and brightens the region’s cultural landscape with its bold productions of challenging new and established works. Musical Theater is Signature’s “signature,” and the Theatre is renowned for its definitive Sondheim productions, inventive adaptations of overlooked or forgotten works, and investment in fresh new projects. Signature has received 320 Helen Hayes Award nominations and 82 Hayes Awards and garners praise from local and national press including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Variety, USA Today and American Theatre.

In 2007, after thirteen successful years of operating in a renovated auto garage in a blighted neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, Signature moved into a dramatic new building that serves as a cultural anchor of the vibrant urban Arlington location Shirlington Village. Since the move, Signature has attracted scores of patrons to the Theatre. Two black-box theaters more than double the capacity of Signature’s former “garage” space, and Signature attracts more than 80,000 patrons each season, increasingly gaining recognition as one of the Nation’s best regional theaters.

Signature gives back to the community through education and outreach programs that engage the area’s increasingly diverse population and target those traditionally underserved by the arts. Outreach initiatives include a comprehensive arts education program for Northern Virginia high school students, a performance-training institute, a free public lecture series co-hosted by the Arlington County Public Library, and an annual Open House and Summer Concert.

Staff celebrates outside Signature’s home from 1993-2006, a renovated garage.

Most of Signature’s 5,000-plus subscribers (60%) live in Northern Virginia. Nearly 30% of this audience-is from Arlington County, 15% from Alexandria, and 15% from Fairfax County. The remaining 40% reside in suburban Maryland and Washington, DC 3% of Signature’s patrons live outside the Washington, DC metro area, including other National and International locations. Signature’s free outreach programs provide meaningful resources for at-¬risk teens and non-traditional theatergoers. Signature’s targeted outreach and pricing incentives have attracted a diverse student following, who presently makes up 11% of the Theatre’s audience. The Signature In The Schools program, for example, reaches Hispanic, White, African-American, and Asian high school students (ages 14 to 18) in Northern Virginia.

Signature welcomes you to our amazing venue.

Signature Theatre
4200 Campbell Avenue
Arlington, Virginia 22206
Box Office 703 820 9771
Administration 571 527 1860
Fax 703 845 0236

Signature Theatre participates in CultureCapital. Your Link to the Arts in Metro DC.