1812 Productions is dedicated to creating theatrical works of comedy and comedic works of theater that explore and celebrate our sense of community, our history, and our humanity
1812 Productions was founded in 1997 by Jennifer Childs and Peter Pryor, two long-time friends and artistic collaborators, with a dedication to comedy, theater, accessibility and Philadelphia artists. In 1998 the company premiered with The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (abridged) and was promptly named “Best of Philly – Theater in Infancy” by Philadelphia Magazine.
In 2000 they presented the company’s first original piece created by Childs, The Big Time: Vaudeville for the Holidays. It was a critical and box office success and was the beginning of what would become a holiday tradition – an original piece each year that focused on an era or area of comedic history. It introduced a unique comedic style that is signature 1812 and was the first of now over fifteen original works created by the company.
Since that time, 1812 has continued to combine their original work with plays and devised theater pieces by established and emerging playwrights and artists, producing three mainstage shows and several limited engagement comedy events each season.
Their award winning education program, 1812 Outreach, has been in residence at South Philadelphia High School and the Widener School for Children with Disabilities for thirteen years.
1812 is the only professional theater company in the country dedicated to comedy. In 2010, they were honored as one of only 10 theaters in the country to receive a National Theatre Company grant from the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards.
Where does the name come from?
1812’s namesake is not the war or the overture, but an address. 1812 Pine Street was the address where Childs and Pryor lived along with an ever-changing group of artist roommates – actors, dancers, sculptors, painters, film-makers, musicians and the occasional German tourist. As Childs says, “It was a time and place in our lives where we had no money, so we were always making something out of nothing. And making each other laugh all the time. ”