Raleigh Little Theatre

Raleigh Little Theatre (RLT) is a community theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina that produces 10 to 11 full productions annually and maintains a comprehensive youth and adult theatre education programs.[1]


Raleigh Little Theatre was established in 1936 to provide community theatre performances and opportunities for residents.[2] RLT produces 11 shows each season, professionally supported by complete on-site costume and scene shops, along with a full and part-time professional staff of 16 and more than 600 community volunteers. With the largest subscription base of any community theatre in the area (3,000+), RLT serves more than 40,000 people with shows each season. A total of 10 to 11 shows are produced annually, professionally supported by complete on-site costume and scene shops.


Raleigh Little Theatre started in 1935-36 when a group of Raleigh performers joined forces with technical workers from the Federal Theatre Project to bring community theatre to Raleigh. The theatre will celebrate its 75th Anniversary Season in 2010-2011. The Piano Lesson, in October 2010, was the theatre's 600th production.

Then, civic leader Cantey Venable Sutton started the Works Progress Administration construction of the main theatre, amphitheatre and Rose Garden.[3] In 2000, the main theatre was named in honor of Mrs. Sutton. RLT's annual performance awards, given each June, have been called "Canteys" in her honor for a number of decades.

RLT was the first community theatre in the South to cast actors of color during segregation.


The historic Raleigh Little Theatre facility includes three on-site venues: the 298-seat Cantey V. Sutton Theatre built in 1939; the outdoor 1700-seat RLT's Louise "Scottie" Stephenson Amphitheatre, also built in 1939; and the 150-seat Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre built in 1990.

Current Season

In the 2012-2013 season, Raleigh Little Theatre will produce/has produced the following shows:

In the 2011-2012 season, Raleigh Little Theatre produced the following shows:

In the 2010-2011 season, Raleigh Little Theatre produced the following shows:

Special Events

Raleigh Little Theatre also stages several special events throughout the year. Some of these are fundraisers for the theatre, others for social gatherings to recognize volunteers. Among these are:

  • Divas!
  • The Winter Gala
  • The Ice Cream Social
  • The Canteys
  • Costume Sale

Youth Education Programs

Each year, RLT serves more than 900 children and adults in its year-round on-site and satellite education programs through the Dianne Davidian Education Program. In addition, more than 1,000 Wake County students are served in the classroom, at youth organizations and on-site are reached through its RLT Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Active Arts Outreach Program.

RLT's Youth Education Program has received national, state and local recognition for excellence, not only are they the talent of tomorrow but also tomorrow's audiences. RLT's Education Program has included the active participation of more than 14,000 young people in the past 15- years that have taken classes at RLT, including being named the "Best Youth Education Program" by the North Carolina Theatre Conference in 2002.

In 2003, RLT launched its RLT/Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Arts Active Outreach Program to bring its award-winning, process-oriented, youth education program directly into the classroom. During the first six months of the program, more than 1,000 students had the opportunity to experience the theatrical arts either through workshops, in-classroom residencies or special performances in schools that otherwise would not have been possible.

Notable Performers

See also


  1. Miller, Emma D. (September 11, 2013). "#firstworldproblems in Raleigh Little Theatre's Art". Indy Week. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  2. Gala, Christa (March 29, 2018). "The rose garden, the outdoor movies – Raleigh Little Theatre continues to grow". The News & Observer. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  3. Moore, Cecelia (2017). The Federal Theatre Project in the American South: The Carolina Playmakers and the Quest for American Drama p.74. Lexington Books. ISBN 978-1-4985-2683-8.

Coordinates: 35°47′29″N 78°40′06″W / 35.791340°N 78.668214°W / 35.791340; -78.668214

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