Raleigh Little Theatre
Raleigh Little Theatre is a nonprofit organization, the purpose of which is to enrich, educate and entertain our community by providing a superior theatre experience. It is a professionally directed, non-profit community theatre presenting 10 productions each season for Raleighand the greater Triangle area. Performances include Broadway-style shows, contemporary works of drama and comedy, new works, family shows appropriate for ages five and up, and teen shows appropriate for maturing youth. RLT is one of the oldest continuously operating community theaters in the country and celebrated its 75th season in 2010-11.
Raleigh Little Theatre was founded during the depths of the Great Depression. In 1936, a coalition ofRaleightheatre lovers banded together with members of the Federal Theatre Project to begin producing amateur theatricals. A unique mixture of volunteers with talent and energy, along with Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal initiatives, created a formidable organization. The founders were so successful that within four years, having raised funds from the federal WPA, the City ofRaleighand individuals, the group built Raleigh Little Theatre a permanent home. The Pogue Street location, where the theatre still resides, is now a City of Raleigh Historic Site and includes three performance spaces – the Cantey V. Sutton Main Stage Theatre (298 seats), the Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching theatre (150 seats) and the Louise “Scottie” Stephenson Amphitheatre (1,700 seats). The theatre’s original building and amphitheatre were dedicated in 1940. Over the years, as the theatre’s programming grew, so did its facilities. In 1966, Raleigh Little Theatre added a scene shop and dressing rooms to the back of its auditorium. To better accommodate a growing youth education program, RLT opened the Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre in 1989. In 1999, RLT built a new lobby off the Main Stage in addition to renovating the amphitheatre. Funding for these projects has come from a variety of sources, including the City ofRaleigh, the State, the corporate community and local individuals.
More than 40,000 people attend Raleigh Little Theatre productions each season. The theatre also has an active volunteer base of more than 600 individuals who participate in the performances, including actors and technical volunteers, as well as box office and concessions volunteers. Our volunteers come from every socio-economic and demographic group in our community.
RLT employs nine full time staff members: Executive Director, Artistic Director, Youth Theatre and Education Director, Associate Youth Education Director, Development and Marketing Manager, Scenic Designer, Costume Designer, Associate Costume Designer, and Technical Director. RLT also has five part time staff members: Box Office Manager, two Box Office Assistants, Wedding (rental) Assistant, and Office Manager.
Raleigh Little Theatre started its Youth Education Program in 1988. The program has grown into an on-site, year-round program enrolling over 900 students annually, as well as amore than 200 students each year in Apex. Classes are designed for young people ages four to 18 to encourage theatrical study and performance. RLT has an active scholarship program supported through individual contributions and outreach activities so that scholarships are always available for students who need them. In 2003, RLT launched its Youth Education Outreach Program to reach students in the classroom ofWakeCountyschools through workshops, artist-residencies and performances. In 2005, RLT started its newest outreach program, the Pickle Jar Players, a “readers’ theatre group” to provide access to the theatre arts to both seniors and students.