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UPDATED June 6: One hundred years ago a group of women from the Arlington Women’s Club decided to form a new group: Friends of the Drama.

The first meeting was chaired by Vittoria Colonna Dalin, wife of the famed Arlington sculptor, and the group performed its first play at Arlington Town Hall in 1923. A year later, the group decided to let men join as well as perform onstage.

Since then, Arlington Friends of the Drama, or AFD, as the community theater came to be known, has continued to produce season after season of plays, starting with a two-play season, and at times, performing up to five or six in a single year. The efforts are virtually all volunteer; only directors and musicians get a modest stipend, while performers, costumers, set builders, box office, props people and all the rest do it for the love of theater.

For any given performance, as many as 100 people may participate, if one counts all the ushers, audition aides, refreshment sellers, box-office volunteers and those who put posters up around town in addition to the more obvious folks: performers, lighting, makeup, sound and set designers.

A festive gala to celebrate its centennial is set to take place Saturday, June 17, from 8 to 11 p.m., at Town Hall.

Although Arlington Friends of the Drama acquired its own building at Maple and Academy in 1933, the group saw it fitting to return to the place of its first performance to celebrate the centennial.

The gala includes dancing, a DJ, catering by Beaujolais of Arlington for hors d’oeuvres, a celebratory cake, reading of congratulatory proclamations from the Town of Arlington as well as one from the State House.

Actors plan to sing some show tunes from AFD shows interspersed throughout the evening, and a cash bar is going to be available, organizers said.

Tickets are $35 and can be purchased online at SPECIAL EVENTS | arlingtonfriends (

For questions, call the theater and leave a message at 781-646-5922 or contact Judy Weinberg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

AFD Theatre plans to kick off its 101st season in September with the musical "Pippin," followed in December with a comedy, "One Slight Hitch." A historically based drama, "Court Martial at Fort Devens," is the early spring show, and the season is scheduled to end with "Twelfth Night," the musical.

Season subscriptions are on sale at  for $70, which represents an almost 30-percent savings off individual ticket prices.

'Pippin' auditions
 Sign-ups now open for auditions

June 26 and 27, 6:30 p.m.

Reserve your spot today: 

AUDITIONS | arlingtonfriends ( 

Why wait?

Only $70 for your 2023-2024 Season

Subscription! Just click here

(Season's tickets holders get a sneak preview with the directors at our membership meeting June 25,

so stay tuned!)

Nov. 26, 2022: Arlington residents 'Light Up the Sky'

This news announcement was published April 19, 2023, based on an email from AFD Theatre. It was updated June 6, with new copy from Ginger Webb.