The mission of The Candlelight Theatre is to continue the tradition of employing and educating artists by encouraging them to explore and hone their craft through the art of live theatre. Through the unique interaction of these artists with our audiences, we share a commitment to revitalize, inspire, and enrich the community we serve.
What is now The Candlelight Theatre began as the Harvey Barn and was transformed into The Robinhood Theatre in the 1930’s. It operated as a summer stock theatre until the mid 1960s.
In 1969, after 5 months of intensive renovations by a team of hard-working volunteers, the barn was transformed into the “Candlelight Music Dinner Theatre”, Delaware’s 1st Dinner Theatre under the ownership of Julian Borris and John O’Toole.
For 31 years “Candlelight Music Dinner Theatre” produced 5 shows annually and nurtured the talents of many, including Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman, film star Bruce Willis, Broadway musical star Diane Fratantoni and many others.
In 2000, John and Lena O’Toole sold the theatre business to Kathleen Nadolny and Ennio diGenova who continued the operation.
In November 2003, Bob and Jody Anderson Miller acquired the theatre and a major renovation began in December. The Millers and a team of hard-working volunteers spent almost two months improving the barn…..extending the stage, adding a new sound system, refurbishing restrooms, installing a permanent buffet, renovating the box office, lobby and more. The Millers reopened under the name “New Candlelight Theatre” (NCT) in February 2004 with its production of A Chorus Line.
In 2006, New Candlelight Productions, a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization was formed to produce theatrical productions.
In 2007, NCT established a Season Subscription base and received 2 Barrymore nominations in their first year of eligibility for its production of Chicago.
In 2009, the theatre celebrated 40 Years of Dinner Theatre! During this anniversary year, 13,000 patrons attended our Mainstage Productions and specialty events.
In the Fall of 2010, the Millers turned over management of the facility including the food operation to the non-profit.
In 2014, we dropped the word “new” and changed our name to The Candlelight Theatre….same great shows and same wonderful dining experience. We celebrated our 45th Anniversary in November, 2014. Thanks to our dedicated staff and board of directors, our hard-working volunteers, and our loyal patrons, we will KEEP CANDLELIGHT GLOWING!
In 2019, we celebrated our 50th Anniversary. With a strong stable staff, a supportive board, and great patrons, we enjoyed a record year at the Box Office. The Candlelight Theatre was in a great position to begin our next 50 years.
When COVID-19 threatened to destroy all that had been accomplished, the community rallied together to once again save the Candlelight Theatre. The staff, the board, Arden Community and our patrons worked together to KEEP CANDLELIGHT GLOWING. We made many changes and reopened as one of the first theaters in the area to return to operation.
This year, we are celebrating our first full season with an strong schedule of Broadway musicals and one play. We are dedicating the year as “Our Season of Giving Back” as our way to say thank you to all the people who contributed to helping our dinner theatre not only survive but become better, stronger, and safer.