The 10 Best Live Theater Venues in Arkansas!

Arkansas is about as far off-Broadway as a Southerner can get but there’s no doubt that the Natural State has a passion for live theater. From the opening act to the intermission to the last curtain call, Arkansans have long-been involved in every aspect of the theater. Knowing that the stage is nothing without the audience, theater lovers also provide Arkansas communities with a growing list of places to see live productions. Let us usher you to the theater experience with the best places to see live theater in Arkansas. Break a leg!

1. The Great Passion Play, Eureka Springs, AR

The Great Passion Play is live theater like you’ve never seen it before. Since it’s opening in July 1968, over seven million people have experienced this inspired production making The Great Passion Play the number one attended outdoor drama in America. You’ll see everything from camels to chariots as the cast and crew perform historically accurate depictions of the events between the breathtaking resurrection of Lazarus and Palm Sunday when Jesus makes a triumphal entry into Jerusalem. There’s nothing else like this live theater production that is staged outside under the stars!

2. Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville, AR

Since it opened in 1992, this Dickson Street landmark has served the Northwest Arkansas community in a partnership that bridges the gap between the public and private sectors. Today the reputation of the Walton Arts Center as one of Arkansas’ premier performing arts centers is well-earned and well-deserved. The Walton Arts Center adds priceless culture to the Ozarks by bringing performing artists and entertainers from around the world to the stage in Fayetteville. 

3. Arts Center of the Ozarks, Springdale, AR

This community theater made a name for itself in 1967 by being the only one of its kind in Northwest Arkansas. Today Arts Center of the Ozarks (ACO), originally called the Springdale Fine Arts Association, is best known for its theater production and wide range of visual art and production classes. You’ll not only appreciate the ACO’s mission to help grow the Springdale community, but you’ll also love the dramatic and musical productions.

4. Fort Smith Little Theater, Fort Smith, AR

The casts and crews of this little community theatre have always been staffed using open public auditions. Before settling into its current location on North Sixth Street in 1986, the Fort Smith Little Theatre staged live productions in local auditoriums, ballrooms, and lecture halls. The FSLT was born out of a fundraising production of the play “Mr. and Mrs. North” in 1947, making it Arkansas’ oldest continuously running all volunteer community theatre. 

5. The Weekend Theater, Little Rock, AR

The Weekend Theater’s story begins in Little Rock at a 1991 production staged at a local church and continues to its current location at the corner of 7th and Chester Streets. From a setting inspired by New York character, this non-profit theatrical community produces socially significant plays for the Central Arkansas area. The Weekend Theater attempts to be a true community of people with a mission to make you laugh, cry, think, and act.

6. TheatreSquared, Fayetteville, AR

“Theater, done well and with passion, can transform lives and communities,” is the founding vision of this nationally-recognized theater. TheatreSquared, located in the Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios, is Northwest Arkansas’ only year-round professional theatre as well as Arkansas’ only home for professional playwrights. Each year over 18,000 students and their teachers are a part of the audience of TheatreSquared’s 220 annual performances.

7. Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Little Rock, AR

Arkansas Repertory Theatre (The Rep) was founded in 1976 and is the state’s largest non-profit professional theater. The Rep seeks to create an eclectic body of theatrical work with a high level of artistry, and a focus on storytelling.

8. Imperial Dinner Theatre, Pocahontas, AR

It’s all about the family, food, fun, and great entertainment at Arkansas’ original dinner theater in Pocahontas. The Imperial Dinner Theater is volunteer-owned and volunteer-operated by The Studio for the Arts, a non-profit organization promoting the arts in the Ozarks. Since 1995, the Imperial Dinner Theatre has been investing in the Randolph County community by presenting some of the best live performing arts productions in the Natural State.

9. ArcBest Corporation Performing Arts Center, Fort Smith, AR

This Fort Smith treasure, located at the Fort Smith Convention Center, is a definite hub of cultural experience. The ArcBest Corporation Performing Arts Center began back in 1981 with a showing of “Pippen.” 

10. Center on the Square, Searcy, AR

You’ll see some of the best live theater productions at Center on the Square where you put the “community” in community theater. This performing arts center undertakes a wide range of artistic endeavors which in turn has a significant impact on the area by providing opportunities to study and enjoy the art of theater. Center on the Square definitely meets its goals of giving back to the Searcy community and of creating experiences that people never forget.

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