The Altarena Playhouse began life in 1938 as the Alameda Little Theatre and has continued on its course of providing theatrical entertainment for over 75 years. Altarena is one of the oldest continuously operating community theatre in the Bay Area.
View our many historical photos of productions from 1939 to the present.
Over 500,000 people have seen shows at Altarena!
The first play produced was “Riddle Me This” opening on April 21, 1939 at the Adelphian Club. Later shows were done at the Alameda Hotel. The first permanent home was the Hideaway Playhouse, so named because it was hidden away behind Cottage Baths in a converted dance hall at Alameda’s famed Neptune Beach. The group performed on a regular stage for eight years.
In 1957, A.L.T. moved to an abandoned grocery store at 1409 High Street. Because the building was so small, it was decided to seat the audience on all four sides and perform in the middle. Because this style of “in-the-round” theater is often referred to as “arena” seating, the initials of Alameda Little Theatre (ALT) and the “arena” style of performing were combined into the name “ALTarena.” In 13 years the non-profit organization succeeded in paying off the mortgage on the building, and in 1970 a mortgage-burning party was held.
Through the years, The Altarena Playhouse has presented musicals, comedies, and dramas. We present four to six productions each season, as well as several special events, distinguished guest performers, concerts, and benefit performances. Anyone may audition, and many Alamedans fondly recall their moments of stardom at Altarena.