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Delaware Children’s Theatre


Honk! at the Delaware Children’s Theatre

250px-New_Century_WilmingtonNew Century Club, U.S. National Register of Historic Places The front of the theatre

The Delaware Children’s Theatre serves as a community theatre in Wilmington, Delaware. The theatre company occupies the historic New Century Club building.

Theatre Company

Originally named the Children’s Repertory Theatre of Wilmington, the organization began in 1973 with their first production of Pinocchio. The organization relies on volunteers for all acting and nearly all support positions as a community theater. To cover operating expenses, DCT sells tickets and receives state support through the Delaware Division of the Arts.

Tony Award winner John Gallagher, Jr. initially played Tom Sawyer as a child actor at the theatre before going on to Broadway.

New Century Club

The Theatre occupies the historic New Century Club building. The organization constructed the building in 1893 and occupied it until 1975. The Delaware Dinner Theatre and Delaware Ballet Company then used the building until 1982 when DCT moved in.

Minerva Parker Nichols of Philadelphia, an early female architect, designed the colonial revival with Palladian windows and a Gambrel roof. While the structure served partly as a clubhouse, it also held a theatre which was used for traveling shows as well as civic speakers, including future president Woodrow Wilson and birth control advocate Margaret Sanger.

The structure is listed as on the National Register of Historic places and recognized as being an active place for the women’s rights movement.  The New Century Club was a progressive upper class women’s group dedicated to social improvement and charity as well as women’s suffrage.  Notable members of the Club included Emily P. Bissell, a Red Cross campaigner against tuberculosis who has a state hospital named after her, and Emalea Pusey Warner, who successfully campaigned for public vocational education and has a local elementary school named in her honor.  Other New Century women’s clubs formed nearby in Milford and Newark, Delaware as well as in Kennett Square, West Chester, and Chester, Pennsylvania.

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