Luckie St. in 1956, featuring Herren's Restaurant,
home of famed cinnamon rolls:
Luckie St. in 2011, featuring the Balzer Theater at Herren's,
home of lovely T.O.:
At its founding in 1976, Theatrical Outfit -- Atlanta's second-oldest continually operating professional theater company -- was an ensemble of young theater artists, housed in a one-room, 99-seat performance studio in Atlanta’s Virginia Highlands. In 1981, the success of the theater inspired a group of Atlanta professionals to form a board of directors who helped the Outfit renovate the historic Kress Five and Dime Store at 1012 Peachtree Street, creating a 200-seat, black box theater. Notably, David Head was one of the first visionary Artistic Directors of Theatrical Outfit.
Throughought the 1980s, Sharon Levy, Producing Artistic Director, spearheaded more than forty play and musicals, helping cement the theatre's placehold in the Atlanta arts landscape. Levy was instrumental in bringing Lee Breuer's productions of Mabou Mines' Lear and Cold Harbor to the Outfit. Beginning in 1989, under the artistic leadership of Eddie Levi Lee and Philip De Poy, the Outfit’s outstanding productions included Beowulf; The Edgar Allen Poe Festival; a new translation of No Exit by Atlanta Actor, Chris Kayser; Angels (published by Dramatic Publishing Company); Tent Meeting (selected for Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival), and I Dream of Peace, a collaboration with The Carter Center and The Atlanta Committee for UNICEF told the stories of Bosnian war children.
In the fall of 1995, Tom Key became the Executive Artistic Director and has led the organization to the creation of its new award-winning downtown home, the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, the first theater in the United States to achieve LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Balzer Theater is also the historical site of Herren’s, the first restaurant in Atlanta to voluntarily desegregate in 1962; its first African American patrons, Dr. Lee and Delores Shelton, are now season subscribers to Theatrical Outfit. Key has produced many of the best writers of the American South: Truman Capote, Horton Foote, Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Hank Williams, Tennessee Williams, as well as the new dramatists Carlyle Brown, S.M. Shephard-Massat, Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder. Theatrical Outfit is dedicated to the Theatrical Art Form as a catalyst to creating community.