Arden Theatre Company is dedicated to bringing to life great stories by great storytellers – on the stage, in the classroom and in the community.
Great stories on the stage:
We produce a wide range of stories in a variety of styles – classic and contemporary, intimate and epic, musical and dramatic – and have a commitment to stories that highlight the diversity of people and human experiences. Producing the great playwrights allows us to measure ourselves against the masters of our craft, while sharing the voices of new writers and emerging theatre companies gives us the opportunity to advance our community and the American theatre.
Great stories in the classroom:
Kids are celebrated at the Arden. We nurture curiosity, creativity, and confidence through our educational programming, and ensure that our teaching artists and staff reflect the students whom we are serving. We reach thousands of students each year, introducing many of our region’s kids to theatre for the first time and believe in the power of the arts to shape children’s lives.
Great stories in the community:
We believe in the power of stories to bring people together – that they can celebrate our unique identities while reminding us of our shared humanity. We work to build a vital community of artists who excel creatively through shared experiences and to expand the pool of artists with whom we work to bring new energies and perspectives to our stages. The Arden strives to be Philadelphia’s hometown theatre, contributing to the region’s vibrant cultural landscape.
Arden Theatre Company was founded in 1988 by Terrence J. Nolen, Amy Murphy, and Aaron Posner. The company began producing at the 70-seat Walnut Street Theatre Studio, and was immediately hailed as a welcome addition to the Philadelphia theatre community. After our second season, we co-founded the St. Stephen’s Performing Arts Center, which held a larger theatre and a unified location for classes, education programs, administrative offices, and production shops.
In 1995, the Arden purchased and renovated a 50,000 square foot building in historic Old City, creating a thriving two-theatre complex and a new home. Our presence has helped Old City emerge as one of the region’s most popular destinations, with a significant economic impact on the neighborhood. The move was also the catalyst for the creation of Arden Children’s Theatre in 1998, the city’s first resident professional children’s theatre. Arden Children’s Theatre was founded on the dual premises that children’s theatre must maintain the same high production values as our nationally-respected Mainstage shows, and that theatre should be affordable for children and their families.
In November of 2013, we opened the Hamilton Family Arts Center; a two-story, multi-use building situated just north of our main theatre building. The building houses six classrooms, a teacher resource center, the Arden’s rehearsal hall, scenic design shop, and paint deck, as well as and a third performance space, the 100-seat Bob and Selma Horan Studio Theatre. The additional space provided by the Hamilton gives the Arden the ability to support the development of multiple projects at the same time.
The Arden’s Education Department includes Arden for All (AFA), our theatre access and education program for underserved young people; Arden Drama School, our after-school, Saturday, and summer camp classes for students in grades pre K-12; Teen Arden, an immersive after-school access program for Philadelphia-area based teenagers and the Arden Professional Apprentice Program, a nationally renowned comprehensive theatre management training program.