The theater company Tiny Dynamite has a smashing success with its productions as part of “A Play, a Pie and a Pint,” thanks to its 2011 Knight Arts grant. The idea is that the audience gets to see an entertaining play at a non-traditional time of day (often happy hour) aside a slice of pie and a pint of their favorite frosty beverage. The first plays of this sort originated in Glasgow, Scotlandat The Oran Mor Theatre back in 2006 in an effort to draw new audiences and build a supportive community. So far the Scottish version is in its seventh year, having performed more than 250 times.
Through the $25,000 matching grant from the Knight Foundation, Tiny Dynamite has been able to bring this idea across the pond and into the City of Brotherly Love. It has been met thus far with sold-out crowds and critical acclaim. Season one took place at The Red Room of the Society Hill Playhouse, but demand for the project pulled the production out of the playhouse and into the pub. Season two included work by local playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger and a visit from British playwright Steve Plant. In fact, Plant flew all the way from his home in France to see the premiere of his play.
As part of the process, Tiny Dynamite read more than 80 submissions in order to select one-act plays by American and British playwrights, with a specific emphasis on Philadelphia. After the selection process, it worked with directors and theater companies in the area in order to put the plays in motion and open them up to the public. “A Play, a Pie and a Pint” is a delicious and refreshing way to unwind with some quality performances. The company collaborated with a local restaurant for the pie,s and the beer was provided by a local brewery. Music has been provided by two bagpipe players and four pianists to create and authentic British pub environment.
Overall, the productions are a lot of fun and low in cost — only $15 gets you a slice of pie, a pint of beer and a play by talented writers and performers. The project is billed a “brilliantly casual” and helps support local business and artists (as well as a few from further away). All the performances are under an hour, allowing playgoers the rest of their night free. Its next upcoming play will be “Peaches en Regalia” by Steve Lyons, which will take place at 9 p.m. on May 4 at MilkBoy Coffee in Ardmore.