Mission & History
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, fiction and nonfiction, musical and dramatic. Producing the great playwrights allows us to measure ourselves against the masters of our craft, while sharing the voices of new writers gives us the opportunity to shape the future of American theatre. We embrace stories for audiences of all ages and bring the same artistic quality to all our work.
Great stories in the classroom:
Kids are celebrated at the Arden. We nurture curiosity, creativity and confidence through our educational programming. We foster connections between theatre and reading and promote literacy for our young audiences. We reach thousands of students each year, introducing many of our region’s kids to theatre for the first time.
Great stories in the community:
We believe in the power of stories to bring people together. We work to build a vital community of artists who excel creatively through shared experiences and with whom our audiences identify. The Arden strives to be Philadelphia’s hometown theatre; we seek community partnerships and collaborations, make our work affordable and accessible, and train the next generation of theatre leaders, contributing to the region’s cultural landscape.
Founded in 1988 by Terrence J. Nolen, Amy Murphy and Aaron Posner, Arden Theatre 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 to provide us with a larger theatre (150 seats) and a unified location for classes, education programs, administrative offices and production shops. Our five seasons at St. Stephen's were marked with continued growth.
In 1995, Arden Theatre Company purchased a 50,000-square-foot building in Philadelphia's historic Old City neighborhood. The building has been renovated to contain a 360-seat mainstage theatre (F. Otto Haas Stage); the 175-seat studio theatre (Arcadia Stage); the Independence Foundation Studio; a bi-level lobby with box office, elevator and restrooms; rehearsal and classroom space; and administrative and production offices. Our move to our new home sparked even more growth for the Arden, and played a significant role in the economic revitalization of Old City.
Arden Theatre Company performs at former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's 2007 Inaugural Ball. (l-r) Brian Hissong, Kristine Fraelich, Keara Hailey, Gov. Ed Rendell, Jarrod Lentz, Jeffrey Coon, and Tony Braithwaite. Photo: Top Guns Photography.
Today, Arden Theatre Company is a full-service professional regional theatre, offering the highest quality theatrical and educational productions and programs to the artists, audiences and students of the greater Philadelphia region. We are a dynamic and successful theatre company with strong ties to the community and a reputation for artistic excellence, educational innovation, and fiscal responsibility.
Our location in Old City has helped to fuel the economic growth of this vital and historic neighborhood. Over 35 restaurants have opened since we moved here in 1995. Former Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell (and former Governor of Pennsylvania) said, "When I think of nonprofit organizations that are having a major economic impact on their neighborhoods, none comes to mind sooner than the Arden."