Productions at the Arden tell great stories by great storytellers. With recent support from the Center, the Arden has integrated visually dazzling video design into live productions (Sunday in the Park with George); featured full, robust orchestrations in its musicals (Candide); and enhanced its work for young audiences, to which the theater devotes the same resources as to main-stage productions (The Flea and the Professor and the upcoming children's theater consortium with Seattle Children's Theatre and Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis). Center funds have also allowed the theater to invest in longer rehearsal periods and to develop a residency program for visiting playwrights, which offers audiences behind-the-scenes access to the creative process of a theater production. Producing Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen has a particular passion for directing the work of Stephen Sondheim, who calls the Arden "the pre-eminent producer of my work in Philadelphia."
The Arden Theatre Company embarked upon a two-year study of the work of Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov, which resulted in a new translation of Three Sisters—the first Chekhov play to be produced at the Arden. The project represented the start of a creative partnership between the Arden and Trinity Repertory Company, located in Providence, Rhode Island.
In fall 2012, Trinity Artistic Director Curt Columbus and Arden Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen traveled to Russia to consult with leading theater artists and to better comprehend how Chekhov's work continues to impact modern Russian drama. This trip, curated by John Freedman, a theater writer and critic based in Moscow, offered the two Americans opportunities to see five productions of works written or heavily influenced by Chekhov and to speak with a Chekhov scholar. They also visited the playwright's estate at Melikhovo. Columbus, who is fluent in Russian, developed his new translation of Three Sisters to reflect what he describes as the "blunt, muscular, and coarse" nature of Chekhov's language. The cast, made up of actors from both Philadelphia and Providence, trained in a two-week workshop with Trinity Rep master teacher Brian McEleny, who continued to mentor the actors leading up to the Arden's 2014 production.