text: seven walking tours through historic philadelphia

Walnut Street Theatre

Washington Square 19

Before going south to Clinton Street, you can continue north on 9th to Walnut and visit the Walnut Street Theatre, the walls of which make it the oldest theatre in the U.S. It was first opened in 1808 as the New Circus, in 1811 a stage was added and it was renamed the Olympic, and the first play, Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Rivals, opened on January 1, 1812. In 1820 it was given its present name. Edwin Forrest made his debut here; Edmund Kean, Edwin Booth, the Four Cohans and Ethel Barrymore all played here. The interior was remodeled in 1920 and in the 1970s the facade was restored to look like the John Haviland original.

Washington Square and West