The Arden Theatre Company is a regional theatre company located in Stockton-on-Tees, England. Founded in 2002, by Robert Icke, Daniel Hill, Andrew Berriman and David Kirkbride, the theatre company grew quickly to become one of the premier theatre companies in the region. Based at Stockton-on-Tees' theatre, ARC, the company began as a youth-only company but now seems to have grown out of its 'no adults' label. The first production was Julius Caesar, in 2003, and a further five productions all sold out.
The company then completed a run of four productions through a major funding award from Arts Council England. Before that they were funded by the Tees Valley Community Foundation, the Agnes Spencer Trust and the Ropner Trust, as well as a series of sponsorship deals with local businesses.
...they have made the transition from being a youth theatre (albeit an unusual one) to a company whose work demands that they be considered alongside the other smaller companies we review here. What entitles a company to this - and it could be a dubious privilege, for the criteria we apply to a youth theatre production are less stringent - is an imaginative approach to the piece, quality of performance and high production values. Arden's An Inspector Calls qualifies on all three counts - and it is interesting that the theatre, too, no longer advertises them as a youth theatre but just as a theatre company... An Inspector Calls marks the real coming of age of Arden, which crosses the boundary which separates a high quality youth theatre from a thoroughly professional company.
Peter Lathan British Theatre Guide, July 2006
The British Theatre Guide announced in its review of 2007's Journey's End, that it was
...we are told, Arden's last production. The management of the Arc really should do all in its power to persuade one of its greatest assets - for the Arts Centre is the company's base - to keep going.
British Theatre Guide, September 2007