Lena Mucchetti is the Artistic Director of New Light Theatre, and is this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE! Read her story here.
“I grew up in West Grove, PA, but we moved to Delaware when I started high school at Padua in Wilmington. I met my husband, who went to Salesianum, and we came back to Delaware again after college, where we started our work in theatre, first in Philadelphia, then by teaching theatre to high schoolers in Wilmington, and eventually went on to found New Light Theatre. We’ve so far produced three plays and two virtual productions in Wilmington, and most of our high school and college apprentices who work with us are also Wilmington residents.
For many years, the Delaware Children’s Museum held a special place in my heart, as we had a membership when my kids were smaller. We would play at the museum, walk by the river, maybe play mini golf or grab something to eat. My ideal night out in Wilmington includes catching one of the Broadway tours that come through The Playhouse on Rodney Square, and dinner at Bardea. For something more casual, we are a big El Diablo family and enjoy mini golf, or hanging outdoors at a park.
Wilmington theatre arts programs and organizations really tend to look out for each other in a beautiful way. New Light Theatre would not be where we are without our friends at OperaDelaware, Short Order Production House, Delaware Theatre Company, Wilmington Drama League, and DelShakes.
Our mission at New Light is to partner each production with a thematically connected charitable organization that we raise awareness and support for. We love bringing high-quality theatrical work to Wilmington and the community of support we have found here, but we also are deeply grateful to have used our art to highlight the work of so many local nonprofits providing vital assistance to the Wilmington community, including the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, PFLAG Delaware, Delaware Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow, AIDS Delaware, Jewish Family Services, and soon, REACH Riverside.
After we produced the musical RENT this past summer in support of AIDS Delaware, we also volunteered to bring our cast members to sing at the AIDS Delaware annual AIDS Walk. Seeing the community come together at that event, set along the Brandywine river, hearing the music, and looking over the AIDS quilt, was an especially poignant moment in Wilmington I will always remember.
I’m excited to see what’s coming in the next few years from the Delaware Division of the Arts as they continue to ensure a vibrant, supported arts and culture scene in Delaware, and challenge us all to be more equitable and inclusive in our work and our community outreach. I would love to see more performing arts venues become available. Wilmington is ideally geographically situated and connected via public transportation to grow to host so many more events, shows, concerts, and arts programming, but finding space available to rent to host these events can be a real challenge.
My advice to Wilmingtonians is this: Don’t try to create your work in a vacuum. Connect with other community members. You’ll find so many folks ready and willing to collaborate, support, and uplift your work.”