By Fidel Benton

~ In 1936, a group of passionate local performers joined forces with technical workers from the Federal Theatre Project to begin a community theatre in Raleigh, joining a nation-wide movement of little theatres focused on intimate, non-commercial theater. Today, this community theatre is called Raleigh Little Theatre (RLT).

Original entrance to RLT

Since opening, RLT has grown as well. In the 1960s a scene shop and dressing rooms were added.  The RLT Education Program was founded in the 1980s, and a 150-seat black box, the Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre, was built to provide additional training opportunities for emerging artists. RLT began renovations on the Gaddy in Sept 2017 and it is scheduled to be completed in January of 2018. Renovations include lighting upgrades, an expansion of the lobby, and various accessibility additions.  In the late 1990s, a lobby was added to the Cantey V. Sutton Theatre to enhance the patron experience, and a number of renovations upgraded the outdoor amphitheater.

Perfect Arrangement


Writing for the News and Observer in 2014, Roy Dicks said: “RLT is redefining what you can expect from a community theatre.” RLT has won a number of the Indy Week’s awards for Best Live Theatre in the Triangle, most recently in 2016 and 2017.

Enthusiastic audience members at Groove in the Garden 2016

RLT’s production of “Grace for President” is currently performing in the Daniels Auditorium at the NC Museum of History, and the dark comedy, “Perfect Arrangement” opens Oct. 22 at the Cantey V. Sutton Theatre on RLT’s campus. The third edition of Groove in the Garden is this Saturday, October 21. Headliners include American Aquarium, Toubab Krewe and Bombadil. The full lineup features fifteen bands – eight in the amphitheater and five on the garden stage. See you there!

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