Philadelphia Scenic Works (PSW) is a fully outfitted theatrical scene shop, paint space and props shop that provides high-quality, affordable scenic and props fabrication, storage, and build space. PSW serves the Philadelphia region’s robust community of non-profit theatre companies and other cultural and educational organizations by maintaining the highest artistic standards, while embracing a more sustainable future through shared pools of recycled, reused and repurposed stock and resources.
When one of the region’s only affordable local commercial scene shops, Campbell Studios, ceased operations in 2016, a handful of its clients – InterAct Theatre Company, Theatre Horizon, and Act II Playhouse -- came together to see how they could keep the shop open as a non-profit, community-driven organization. Having raised funds to purchase all of Campbell Studios’ equipment, PSW moved into a much bigger (10,000 square foot) shop space at 2855 Emerald Street in Kensington in the summer of 2017. Since then, PSW has supported dozens of organizations across the region by providing scenic fabrication, shop space, and scenery rentals. These organizations include The Kimmel Center, FringeArts, Philadelphia Horticultural Center, Resident Theatre Company, Delaware Theatre Company, Theatre Horizon, InterAct Theatre Company, Two River Theatre Company, The Wilma, BalletX, Brian Sanders’ JUNK, and Philadelphia Theatre Company.
PSW strives to create a stronger and more sustainable community of not-for-profit arts organizations by offering the highest quality, custom fabrication at a partially subsidized cost.
By using contributed revenue and commercial projects to offset overhead/admin costs, PSW can offer a quality product at more favorable rates than commercial shops.
PSW can maintain a larger inventory of stock pieces (flats, platforms, casters, etc.) than any individual company can. These pieces can be utilized over and over again saving time and money for the companies and PSW.
PSW can reuse materials once projects are complete and make use of waste materials from other projects. Typically these materials would end in the landfill, as individual arts organizations don’t have the storage.
PSW can maximize savings on materials by ordering in bulk.
There is a nationwide shortage of skilled technical directors, scenic carpenters and painters. Commercial shops and in-house shops at large, regional theaters are able to offer more competitive positions -- higher pay, shorter hours, and better work environments. The commercial shops achieve this by charging their clients a significantly higher markup than most small, non-profit theaters are able to afford. As a result, many non-profit theatres in our region have their scenery built less efficiently, less safely, and with considerably less artistry and skill.
PSW can dedicate special attention to supporting the technician/carpenter/fabricator community, thereby reducing turnover and encouraging new people to join the field. This will in turn increase quality and maximize capacity/efficiency. PSW will do this by:
Your generous donation will enable us to meet fund our mission!