It’s not terribly surprising that “A Play, a Pie and a Pint” caught on in Philly, where all things hoppy and doughy are treated with instinctive reverence. Even so, Emma Gibson wasn’t prepared for the crowds that flocked to the sold-out Society Hill Playhouse last month for Tiny Dynamite Productions’ one-act, one-hour plays served up with beer and pizza.
“I thought it would work well in Philadelphia, but it was quite extraordinary,” says Gibson, artistic director and founder of Tiny Dynamite. “The people who came were not traditional theatergoers. Not everyone is huge on going to the theater — it’s expensive, it takes a lot of time, it’s not always accessible. But this is very casual, so people come in and they have a drink, they have a bite to eat.”
The series originally debuted in Glasgow as lunch-time productions, but Gibson — a U.K. native who now lives in Malvern — decided to stage her plays at 6 p.m., taking into account Americans’ sober, desk-side lunches. Traditional English-style meat pies are, however, back on the menu (along with a veggie option) now that the series has relocated to Fergie’s Pub for an encore run.
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“I wanted to see how this could work in a nontraditional space,” says Gibson of the move. “I think it really serves the spirit of the play — and now people can get up an get another pint.”