The Theatre of Living Arts, fondly known as TLA, has brought live music to Philadelphia’s famous South Street for over 30 years. Nestled amongst some of the best cheesesteak and pizza joints in the city- and neighbored by some truly unique lifestyle shops and niche record stores- it’s easy to make your trip to TLA an exciting experience.
The theatre first opened its doors in 1908 and was originally known as the Crystal Palace. The site experienced several diverse incarnations over the first few decades of existence, including an expansion of the original building footprint to its current size. TLA has always been a building tied closely to artistry and has housed many different types of craft & entertainment over the years. Opera was once its primary form of craft, followed by a stint as a movie house showing art films and weekly midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. There was even a unique moment where the performance space became an art destination during the ‘Beatnik’ culture years, hosting an eclectic mix of art styles at any given moment. TLA has since become one of Philadelphia's premiere small concert venues, welcoming up-and-coming artists from all genres to perform for the 1,000 concertgoers it is able to hold within its walls.
South Street’s distinctive & bustling energy boasts plenty of pre-show & post-show entertainment options within the neighborhood to make for a memorable night out. Ethnically diverse restaurants and an incredibly eclectic lineup of shops and art galleries will keep passerby busy for hours on end. Visitors from all walks of life come to experience all that neighborhood has to offer, which can range from a famous cheesesteak at Jim’s, a notoriously massive slice of pizza at Lorenzo’s, an eye-opening saunter through Magic Gardens, and of course…an incredible show at TLA! Whether it’s Tuesday afternoon or Sunday morning, South Street is almost always teeming with activity and entertainment. Much like the street it calls home, TLA stays abuzz more often than not, allowing music lovers to catch a show almost any night of the week—so get your tickets, step right up to the same doors concert lovers have entered for decades, and come on in to join the party.