Small Atlanta theaters offer unique experiences

People talking on outdoor patio at Dad's Garage on September 17, 2022.
Brandon McKeown

Atlanta’s small theaters are perfect for a brief escape into someone else’s story. Each of the following venues comes in at less than 250 seats, enhancing an up-close feel.

Actor’s Express Theatre Company

This theater challenges boundaries with its overall inclusive vibe designed to tie performers to their audiences. That’s a goal that the facility, at an intimate 155 seats, helps in accomplishing. Since 1988, the company has occupied several other spaces, including a church basement, before settling at its current home, the King Plow Arts Center.

Location: Northwest - 887 West Marietta St NW Suite J-107; Website:

Aurora Theatre

From “Romeo and Juliet” to sketch comedy to dance productions, theatergoers enjoy a variety of entertainment at this Gwinnett company in the Lawrenceville Arts Center. The following areas accommodate smaller audiences: cabaret — 250, mainstage — 250, courtyard — 200 and studio — 100. Look into educational programs for youth interested in performance or just fun.

Location: 128 E Pike St, Lawrenceville, GA 30046; Website:

Dad’s Garage Theatre

This improv- and comedy-centered theater has been around since 1995 and offers shows in the evenings. The company uses laughter to connect with its audiences in a former church — its home since late 2015. The facility allows for small, 90-seat performances or larger, 210-seat events. Check their website for upcoming shows.

Location: East Atlanta - 569 Ezzard St SE; Website:

Hertz Stage

The Alliance Theatre houses stages of varying sizes, and its Hertz Stage allows attendees the first-come, first-served format of general admission. Hertz, with its 200-seats, is an intimate introduction to rising stars on the theater scene.

Location: Midtown - 1280 Peachtree St NE; Website:

Horizon Theatre Company

Contemporary theater comes to life in this 172-seat venue. Audiences can expect to see internationally-known plays mixed in with more local fare. Alongside the mainstage plays, there’s a family series and even free outdoor offerings during the warmer months.

Location: East Atlanta - 1083 Austin Ave NE; Website:

OnStage Atlanta

This company has been promoting theater through storytelling since 1971 and now hosts a permanent installation of professionals from actors to technicians and writers. Its new venue, open since 2019, seats 84 at its Webber Stage and an additional 40 at its newer studio stage.

Location: Scottdale - 3041 N Decatur Rd; Website:

Theatrical Outfit

Dating back to 1976, this theater is one of the oldest in the city. It’s home is the Balzer Theater at Herren’s. The latter portion of the location name references the fact that the building once housed the first white dining establishment in Atlanta to voluntarily desegregate. The house seats 200 before performances that delve into issues of race, equality and faith in a variety of formats from classics to world premiers.

Location: Downtown - 84 Luckie St NW; Website:

The New American Shakespeare Tavern

Since its 1990 inception, this house has produced Shakespeare’s 39-play canon multiple times, along with other period classics. The 220 seats in its Peachtree Street playhouse will put viewers in mind of London’s Shakespeare’s Globe. And like a true Elizabethan theatergoer, you can enjoy food and drinks during a performance.

Location: Downtown - 499 Peachtree St NE; Website:

7 Stages Theatre

Since 1979, this company has been presenting captivating productions that address political, social, and spiritual issues. Along with its two stages, which have capacities of 200 and 90 seats, respectively, the theater also offers rental space to other theater groups. Unfortunately, the company recently posted a letter on its website announcing that its home, the Atlanta Lyric Theatre, has permanently closed after 42 seasons, ending on March 7. For updates, visit

Location: East Atlanta - 1105 Euclid Ave NE; Website:

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