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, after 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, led by a team of four officers: a chairman, vice chairman, treasurer, and secretary. In addition, committees have been formed to help manage particular aspects of DTC, including development, executive, long-range planning, nominations, and finance.
The Delaware Theatre Company operates "nationally recognized education programs [that] 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 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.
Historical note derived from Delaware Theatre Company records: https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?mss0633
Delaware Theatre Company. http://www.delawaretheatre.org/ (accessed December 7, 2010).
Kipp, Carol. "Delaware Theatre Company: Spirited Past, Promising Future," PrimeLife. January/February 2005.
The Delaware Theatre Company records 2019 supplement comprises the organization's administrative and financial records, production files, press, and reviews from 1978-2015.
Series I. comprises Delaware Theatre Company's administrative and financial records and is divided into four subseries: I.A. General administrative records; I.B. Board of Directors; I.C. Financial; and I.D. Education and outreach.
Subseries I.A., General administrative records, contains files predominantly related to the organization's construction and expansion efforts as well as its community partnerships and exchanges. The subseries contains contracts, architectural plans, slides, photographs, and other materials related to construction and renovation projects from the 1980s through the early 2000s. The subseries also includes meeting minutes, contracts, and correspondence related to DTC's collaborations with organizations such as ARTCO of Delaware, Best of Delaware magazine, University of Delaware Resident Ensemble Players (REP), the Walnut Street Theatre, and the Wilmington Drama League. The subseries also contains a small amount of training materials that include the employee handbook and directors' guidebooks. Publicity materials in the series include mock-ups of DTC's logo artwork and the organization's Encore! newsletter.
Subseries I.B. reflects the activities of DTC's Board of Directors. The subseries is largely comprised of the board's general meeting minutes and also minutes for its Executive Committee, Finance Committee, and other subcommittees. The subseries includes a small amount of board correspondence, records documenting board membership, and other materials related to the long-range planning and administration of the company.
Subseries I.C. is comprised of Delaware Theatre Company's financial records predominantly in the form of statements, audits, and expense reports. The subseries includes a small amount of general records mostly relating to the organization's endowments and fundraising activities.
Subseries I.D. documents the educational and outreach activities of the organization. The subseries is comprised of general educational materials, study guides, and outreach materials. Study guides comprise the bulk of the series and contain background information and synopses of plays, character descriptions, contextual and historical information, biographies of playwrights, and pre- and post-performance questions to aid in pedagogy. Outreach materials largely consist of play scripts, probably used in creating mailers and other advertising materials.
Series II., Production files, is comprised of files related to individual plays from 1979-2015; actor's files; and printed materials in the form of playbills and brochures.
Subseries II.A., Plays, is arranged chronologically and represents the bulk of the supplement. The files predominantly contain photographic stills of theatrical performances in the form of black-and-white and color photographs, negatives, slides, and contact sheets. The files also include costume mock-ups; headshots and resumes of actors; schedules and calendars; and stage manager notes, correspondence, and marked-up scripts. Additionally, artwork, advertising copy, fabric swatches, set designs, actor contracts and riders, and purchase orders related to productions are found to a lesser degree throughout the files.
Subseries II.B., Actors' files, contains actors' headshots and resumes as well as records related to actor housing.
Subseries II.C. contains printed materials in the form of playbills of DTC performances as well as brochures related to the organization's benefits and charitable productions.
Series III. Contains press clippings of news articles and reviews relating to Delaware Theatre Company, largely from Delaware newspapers from 1991-2011.