The Thalian Association is a non-profit, membership organization that’s dedicated to enhancing the rich artistic environment of the Cape Fear region.  Tracing its roots back to 1788, the Thalian Association was founded to provide arts education and bring the excitement of the performing arts to Wilmington, North Carolina.


In 2007, the North Carolina legislature named the Thalian Association the State Community Theater of North Carolina.In an official ceremony held in Wilmington, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall emphasized that our organization’s prestigeous title was not a distinction given lightly.


“This is truly unique,” Marshall said. “But what this really means is that it’s honoring a tradition of inspiring people, helping children, healing a community, all the things that the performing arts and an association to support that can mean.”

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The Thalian Association is a non-profit, membership-supported, community theater organization.  Our members elect the volunteer Board of Directors which subsequently elects our officers.  We have a salaried Managing Director and Artistic Director and a paid Operations Coordinator, with all other manpower coming from scores of loyal volunteers.  Membership in the Thalian Association is enjoyed by hundreds of Wilmingtonians as well as patrons from throughout the region.

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We manage the Hannah Block Historic USO, home to Wilmington’s Community Arts Center, offering classes in a wide array of artistic diciplines.  Thalian Community Theatre produces five major productions annually on the Main Stage at historic Thalian Hall.

In fact,  Thalian Hall was proudly named for our organization in 1858. When appropriate, we schedule weekday matinees for school groups and seniors. Our mission is to present quality live theater that illuminates the human experience for the citizens of Wilmington, New Hanover County and beyond.
All of our productions are cast through auditions which are open to the general public. Through the years thousands of local actors, directors, choreographers, conductors, musicians, designers and technicians have enjoyed the opportunity to develop their craft working with the Thalian Association.

One of the oldest amateur theater groups in the United States, the Thalian Association is currently compiling a complete history of the organization. We were voted Wilmington’s Best Theater Company in 2006 by the readers of Encore, the Cape Fear guide to arts and entertainment and have since reclaimed that title for many subsequent years.

The Thalian Association Children’s Theater is an all youth production company. We offer training and performance opportunities for ages 7 through high school seniors.

Kids may choose to be involved on stage as actors, in the orchestra pit as musicians, or back stage as a part of our design and production team.  Auditions are open to all children ages 7 through high school seniors unless otherwise noted.

Our mission is “to teach life skills through theater education and provide an outlet for artists and technicians to develop and exercise their craft.”

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Orange Street Arts Fest, now in its sixteenth year, is a major fundraiser for us.  This event, Wilmington’s largest downtown arts festival, features more than fifty artists from Wilmington and North Carolina, as well as South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.  Featured at the Orange Street Arts Fest are a variety of media, including Oil, Watercolor paintings, Pottery, Jewelry, Wood, Glass, and Paper Creations.

The event is held on Orange Street in downtown Wilmington, NC,  between Front and Second, and inside the newly renovated Historic USO. The public is invited to tour the World War II exhibits while visiting the artists inside. Our last festival featured lots of food, a wine tent, and live entertainment.  There were also special programs at the Children’s Museum.  You’ll find the Orange Street Artsfest both relaxing and exhilarating, with a laid back attitude, described by some as ” A Jewel of a Show” in this beautiful setting in Historic Downtown Wilmington.