Delaware Theatre Company records supplement

Biographical and Historical Notes

The Delaware Theatre Company (DTC) was founded in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1978 with a mission to create theater of the highest professional quality in Delaware and thereby enrich the area through artistic programming, education and community service.

The largest professional theater in Delaware, the DTC was the collective brainchild of Cleveland Morris, Peter DeLaurier, and Ceal Phelan. The three friends founded the DTC "to revive a city that had fallen victim to the race riots of the late 1960s [and] whose historic past was overshadowed by the urban wasteland that had replaced neighborhood vitality.., [and to start] a professional regional theatre" (Kipp, page 13). With support from Mayor Bill McLaughlin, the Company was established in an abandoned firehouse on French Street in Wilmington, at the affordable rent of one dollar per year. The French Street Firehouse served as the site for "rehearsals, set construction, office work, and plays" (Delaware Theatre Company), despite struggles with space issues and financial resources. In 1983, as a result of raising almost two million dollars in a capital campaign, the DTC moved into a new building on the Christiana waterfront.

The Delaware Theatre Company is currently governed by a board of directors is led by a team of four officers: a chairman, vice chairman, treasurer and secretary. In addition, several committees have been formed to help manage particular aspects of DTC. There have been other committees over the years, including development, executive, long-range planning, nominating, benefit and finance.

The Delaware Theatre Company operates "nationally recognized education programs [which] reach out to all sectors of the community" (Delaware Theatre Company). Among these programs are the Theatre in the Schools matinee program; classroom visits by Delaware Theatre Company teaching artists; post-performance conversations with members of the cast; "Insights," a standards-based study guide for teachers; and Summer on the Stage. Moreover, the Delaware Theatre Company focuses on providing at-risk youth access to the arts. Some of the programs designed to help this demographic are Totally Awesome Kids, Pro-Actors, and a partnership with the Ferris School.


Delaware Theatre Company. (accessed December 7, 2010).

Kipp, Carol. "Delaware Theatre Company: Spirited Past, Promising Future," PrimeLife. January/February 2005.

Scope and Content Note

Educational and community outreach programs are the main focus and the bulk of this supplement to the Delaware Theatre Company records, with a large component consisting of the files of the Director of Education & Community Engagement, C. J. Conway.

The collection is arranged in two series: Series I. Education Programs (1983-2013) and Series II. Delaware Theatre Company programming (1986-2008).

C. J. Conway has been the Director of Education & Community Engagement at the Delaware Theatre Company since 1992. In leading the theater's educational outreach to youth and adults, Conway has established the summer camps and the Delaware Young Playwrights Festival, as well as programs for people with cognitive disabilities (Totally Awesome Players). Some of the files in the first series were created by Conway, and the entire Series I. Education programs, highlights educational and outreach programs that he has directed. The folder titles assigned by Conway have been retained.

In addition to the files of C. J. Conway, the first series includes photographs, photograph albums, videocassette recordings, and other material which document the education and outreach done by the Delaware Theatre Company. Programs and activities depicted by the photographs and videos are Summer Camp, Student matinees, National Conference for Community and Justice programs, Acting classes, Totally Awesome Kids, First State School, Educators workshop, Young Playwrights Festival, Summer on Stage, and Conflict Resolution classes, to name only a few. The Delaware Theatre Company has also created and conducted programs in local schools, such as Centerville, Sanford, Ennis, Pulaski, Padua, and the New Jersey School for the Deaf, all of which are documented in the files.

Series I. also houses a box of paper sign props for a Summer on Stage session run in 2002, and a box of index cards which offer ideas for group activities.

Series II. Delaware Theatre Company programming, consist of approximately one linear foot of files related to some of the publicity and programming done by the theater. This series contains several folders of clippings and articles about the Delaware Theatre Company; a subseries devoted to files related to individual plays produced by the theater; a small group of playbills, showcards, and mailings generated by the Delaware Theatre Company; and several files related to the theater's art gallery and annual benefits.