There is a wide range of live theatre productions offered at theatres across Oʻahu. You can enjoy classic plays, Broadway musicals, and experimental works. In addition, you can find original plays by local playwrights, featuring stories unique to Hawai’i. Like live theatres everywhere, the theatre season in Hawai’i runs roughly September-June. Season tickets and flex passes are typically offered, as well as tickets to individual performances.
To save money on theatre tickets, volunteers are welcome at most theaters. A volunteer benefit often includes discounted or free performance tickets.
The list below includes professional theatre companies across Oʻahu, as well as renowned college theatres.
Listed alphabetically by theatre name.
Diamond Head Theatre
Built in 1933 by the Army as the Fort Ruger USO movie theater, the 500-seat theatre has seen better days. The company is in the final stages of construction on a new theatre, expected to debut in the 2023 season.
Diamond Head Theatre shows are true community theatre, produced with thousands of volunteer hours, from the actors on stage to the musicians in the orchestra pit, as well as the backstage production and design crews to the front-of-house staff. Season subscriptions provide you with a substantial discount to all shows, the best seats, and free ticket exchange.
The theatre also offers summer musical theatre camps for school-age kids and year-round workshops in performing arts for adults, teens, and children.
- Address: Diamond Head Theatre, 520 Makapuʻu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
- Website: https://www.diamondheadtheatre.com/
Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre
Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre (HOT) history dates to the 1850s when Queen Emma sang in the chorus of Verdi’s Il Trovatore while her husband, King Kamehameha IV served as the stage manager. Today, HOT is one of the largest arts organizations in the state with performances and outreach on the neighbor islands.
HOT is known for vibrant, creative productions with high production values. The season features international artists alongside Hawaii’s best local artists. HOT’s chorus is comprised of 40 to 70 local singers. Custom sets, scenery, and costumes are a feature of every production.
- Address: Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre, 848 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813
- Website: https://www.hawaiiopera.org/
Hawaiʻi Theatre Center
Located on the edge of Chinatown in downtown Honolulu, the theatre was built in 1922 and restored in 1996. Hawaiʻi Theatre is listed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
Hawaiʻi Theatre hosts a broad range of shows, including national touring acts, live theatre, music concerts, film festivals, and other entertainment enjoyed by both kama`aina (locals) and malihini (visitors).
- Address: Hawaiʻi Theatre Center, 130 Bethel St, Honolulu, HI 96813
- Website: https://www.hawaiitheatre.com/
Kumu Kahua Theatre
The Kumu Kahua (“Original Stage”) 100-seat playhouse in the Honolulu arts district is housed in the former Kamehameha V Post Office. Built in 1871, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Kumu Kahua Theatre presents original, locally-written plays about life in Hawai’i. The plays feature history as well as contemporary stories about her people and the various cultures of her residents. The theatre also offers classes and contests for aspiring playwrights.
- Address: Kuma Kahua Theatre, 46 Merchant St, Honolulu HI 96813
- Website: https://www.kumukahua.org/
Manoa Valley Theatre
The intimate Manoa Valley Theatre theatre seats 150 patrons and is known for high quality artistic productions.
Known as “Honolulu’s Off-Broadway Playhouse,” Manoa Valley Theatre (MVT) has entertained residents for over 50 years with contemporary plays and musicals featuring Hawaiʻi performing artists. MVT also regularly hosts auditions for upcoming productions and classes in various aspects of theatre production.
- Address: Manoa Valley Theatre, 2833 E Manoa Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822
- Website: https://www.manoavalleytheatre.com/
TAG The Actors’ Group
TAG fills a unique niche in Honolulu’s theatre community by presenting a diverse selection of dramatic plays in an intimate setting. On stage at the Brad Powell Theatre in the Dole Cannery retail complex in Honolulu. Volunteers (front & back of house) can earn free tickets.
- Address: The Shops at Dole Cannery, 650 Iwilei Rd, Honolulu, HI 96817
- Website: https://www.taghawaii.net/
Two Oʻahu college theatres are known for high quality stage productions. Tickets to these live shows are often very budget-friendly. Many students at these theatres have gone on to successful national careers.
The Kennedy Theatre is home for productions by the Department of Theatre + Dance at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The building was designed by internationally-known architect I.M. Pei and includes a mainstage and smaller experimental productions space.
The 619-seat mainstage is the site for elaborate Asian and Hawaiian theatre productions, Euro-American theatre classics, contemporary works, and dance performances. The 140-seat Earle Ernst Lab Theatre focuses on experimental student works. The theatre also hosts special events, including the bi-annual summer show Asia Pacific Dance Festival.
- Address: John F. Kennedy Theatre, 1770 East-West Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822
- Website: https://manoa.hawaii.edu/liveonstage/kennedy-theatre/
Palikū Theatre is home to students of performing arts at Windward Community College. Broadway musicals are often presented as well as dramatic and comedic plays, contemporary interpretations, original works, plus concerts, film festivals, and dance productions, including hula. The modern theatre is comfortable with a steep pitch, great sight lines, and exceptional sound system.
- Address: Palikū Theatre at Windward Community College, 45-720 Keaʻahala Rd, Kāneʻohe, HI 96744
- Website: https://windward.hawaii.edu/campus-life/arts-entertainment/paliku-theatre/