A Brief History of Richmond Triangle Players

Richmond Triangle Players, exists to change the community’s conversation about diversity and inclusion through the production of LGBTQ-themed works. A nonprofit, professional theatre company organized in 1993, RTP delivers adventurous and entertaining theater as the leading voice in the community’s explorations of equality, identity, affection and family, across sexual orientation and gender spectrums.

Since its inception, Richmond Triangle Players has filled a significant void in our community's cultural life. RTP is the only professional theatre company in the Richmond area – in fact, in the entire Mid-Atlantic region – which expressly and regularly serves the LGBTQ community. While other local theatres occasionally produce plays with LGBTQ subject matter, only Triangle Players has made an ongoing commitment to LGBTQ artists, issues, audiences and community support.

It is hard to imagine that any other theater in Richmond has made a greater positive, transformational change than Richmond Triangle Players has made in the last decade. In 2010, RTP transformed an old radiator shop into a warm and welcoming new venue, after vacating the crumbling building in which its theater had been housed. Since that time, RTP has won acclaim from its growing and diverse audiences, as well as from the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle, with over 90 “Best” nominations, the inaugural People’s Choice Award, and awards for Best Play and Best Musical twice each.

Last season, the readers of STYLE Weekly voted Richmond Triangle Players as Richmond’s Best Local Theatre Company, the second time that honor has been bestowed.

Additional plaudits have come from the national publication Playbill.com, which named RTP as one of the 15 most important theaters of its kind in the nation, as well as in an editorial from the famously conservative Richmond Times-Dispatch which said, in part: “RTP has been consistently willing to explore tough issues involving people who are gay in America and the challenges — and triumphs — they experience … Their dramatic success here has opened doors and opened minds the old-fashioned way — through laughter, tears, and telling truth.”  (Read the full editorial here).

We have also just learned that Richmond Triangle Players will be honored at the statewide Equality Virginia dinner this spring as one of its 2018 “OUTstanding Virginians.”

Richmond Triangle Players has maintained its commitment to diversity in programming not only by producing an annual series of plays, but also in collaborating on new events, in showcasing some of the country’s most celebrated cabaret artists on its stage, and in opening its doors to support and incubate other theaters. The growth in the company’s scale and scope in such a short time is almost staggering.   Every year, RTP hosts over 160 events to the delight of almost 10,000 enthusiastic patrons.


The pink triangle is a popular and widely recognized symbol for the LGBTQ community. The history of the triangle is rooted in the World War II era, and reminds individuals of the tragedies that occurred during that time. Although the Nazi regime targeted many groups for extermination, history often does not mention that homosexuals were among those groups. The pink triangle is a reminder that homosexuality was persecuted.

The history of the pink triangle begins before WWII, during Adolf Hitler's rise to power. Paragraph 175, a clause in German law prohibiting homosexual relations, was revised by Hitler in 1935. The revision included kissing, embracing, and gay fantasies as well as sexual acts. Convicted offenders were sent to prison and then later to concentration camps. An estimated 25,000 people were convicted from 1937 to 1939. Homosexual men were viewed as a threat to the state because they would reduce the capacity to wage war and purify the German race. Initially the sentence for this crime was sterilization, usually by castration, but in 1942, the punishment was extended to include death.

Each prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps was labeled with a color-coded geometric figure that identified the reason for incarceration. The designations also served to form a sort of social hierarchy among the prisoners. Criminals were marked with green triangles; political prisoners with red, "asocials" (including Roma, nonconformists, vagrants, and other groups) were marked with black or—in the case of Roma in some camps—brown triangles.

Homosexuals were marked with pink triangles and Jehovah's Witnesses with purple ones. Non-German prisoners were also marked with the first letter of the German name for their home country, which was sewn onto their badge. The two triangles forming the Jewish star badge would both be yellow unless the Jewish prisoner was included in one of the other prisoner categories. A Jewish homosexual prisoner, for example, would be identified with a yellow triangle beneath a pink triangle.

In the 1970's, gay liberation groups reclaimed the pink triangle as a popular symbol for the gay rights movement. Not only is the symbol easily recognized, but it also draws attention to oppression and persecution. In the 1980's, ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) began using the pink triangle for their cause. The triangle was inverted so it pointed up, to signify an active fight back rather than a passive resignation to fate. Today, for many, the pink triangle represents pride, solidarity, and a promise to never allow another Holocaust to happen again.


Richmond Triangle Players, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Your contribution will help support our mission and is tax deductible as allowed by law. Clicking on the button below will take you to RTP’s profile on GiveRichmond.org, a program of The Community Foundation, which handles our online donations.


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1300 Altamont Avenue

Richmond, Virginia

23230   MAP

Richmond Triangle Players is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.