As the professional summer theatre hosted at the University of Virginia by the UVA Department of Drama, Heritage Theatre Festival's mission is: (1) to offer an immersive professional theatre experience, where UVA faculty, staff, and students work alongside both professional artists and community members, and (2) to present an annual summer festival of musicals, classic works, and new plays for our local Charlottesville, Albemarle, and UVA communities.
In the summer of 1974, Heritage was founded by former UVA Drama Chair David Weiss with the intent to be a semi-professional theatre. The original season featured three Equity actors who worked alongside non-Equity performers. Now in its 45th year, HTF remains the only professional summer theatre in the Charlottesville area and is a treasured part of the arts landscape at the University of Virginia and throughout the local and regional community.
Highlights from past seasons include: welcoming Jean Stapleton, an award-winning stage, film, and television actress, to the HTF stage in 1992; the 1976 production of the original play That Man Jefferson, commissioned by Weiss for the American Bicentennial, written by longtime Charlottesville television personality Dave Cupp, and directed by Tony Award-winning New York director Bill Martin; and an original production of Aaron Sorkin’s Tony Award-winning drama A Few Good Men in 1989. Notable Heritage alums include: Wayne Knight (Newman in Seinfeld); Jared Bradshaw (Jersey Boys on Broadway); noted jazz and cabaret singer Jack Donahue; and UVA graduate Emily Swallow (TV’s The Mentalist and Southland).