Currently, there are five theatres in three states all owned and operated separately by family members. The Hale Centre Theatre has a legendary heritage as the longest continuously running, privately owned and operated theatre company in America.
1943 Hale Centre Theatre was born!
When Ruth and Nathan Hale moved to Glendale,California from Salt Lake City in 1943 with the aspirations of beginning a career as actors, they quickly realized that the only way to pursue their dream was to open their own theatre. In 1947 they rented a small building in Glendale, and the Hale Centre Theatre was born!
Although their opening night had an audience of just six, their little 110 seat theatre began to grow. The theatre has operated now for 56 years, passing down from generation to generation until today. Everyone in the family agrees with the theaters founder:
“It’s an exciting life, full of stress and strain, yet there’s never a dull moment when you’re in this business!”
- Ruth Hale
At the tender age of two David Hale Dietlein wanted to be on stage and he would have made it if an actor hadnʼt scooped him up just as he was going through the curtain. Daveʼs family who owned the theater, also lived behind it. Dave would escape from his crib and his baby sitter to try to make that entrance. Now many years later Dave goes through his own curtain each night to welcome audiences to the show.
Dave was always an entrepreneur, selling radishes which he said were candy around the neighborhood when he was four, and taking the pop bottles from the back of the little grocery store next to the theater into the front of the store to get a refund. The grocer soon put a stop to that. His next endeavor was a little more productive. When he was in high school he became a DJ, called himself “The Disco King” and made enough money to buy a car and pay for college.
After leaving College he went to work for his Dad at the theater with the hopes of one day having one of his own. His Dad was a hard task master and wanted Dave to know that though theater is rewarding, it is hard work! Dave took to the work like a duck to water and when his folks retired he and his brother bought the business. After seven years Dave still had a dream of having his very own theater, so he sold his interest in the Glendale Center Theater in California and scouted around for a new location. Being a California boy, Arizona was not on his list. After looking Gilbert over and ﬁnding it a family town that he felt would support a family oriented theater and receiving encouragement from the city fathers (particularly Gregg Tilke), Dave came kicking and screaming into the heat of the Valley of the Sun. Heʼs been glad ever since.
He was able to secure a loan from a friendly bank in town, and with money he had saved over the years, (you can do that when youʼre not married) he began construction on, yes, his very own theater.
The rest is history, patrons have discovered the high quality of the work at Hale, and incredibly talented actors have brought the plays and musicals to life. Next year Dave and his lovely wife Corrin, (yes he did get married) will celebrate 10 years in Gilbert.
Dave echos his Grandmother, who with her husband started the Glendale Centre Theatre, when she says, “Theater is an exciting life, full of stress and strain, yet thereʼs a joy to it, and never a dull moment!
The Hale Centre Theatre has been dedicated to providing our patrons with the finest theatrical experience possible in an atmosphere as intimate and friendly as their own homes. In doing so, we have always selected shows which reflect our promise to provide fun and affordable entertainment.