Constructed at the site of the 18th century Thistle Paper Mill, this theater has supported the arts for many decades. The mill was no longer in operation when theater founder Antoinette Scudder bought the property in 1934. She ran the theater with her business partner Frank Carrington, who took the lead in operations after Scudder's death in 1958. The playhouse continues to offer multiple shows each season for the local community and is widely recognized for its accessibility features.
Samuel Campbell opened the
Thistle Paper Mill in Millburn, New Jersey in 1795 to help support his publishing
business. In the 1860s, the mill was destroyed by fire but was rebuilt and
continued to function for more than 30 years after. The mill was abandoned by
the time Antoinette Scudder bought the lot in 1934.
Scudder founded the Paper Mill Playhouse with her
business partner Frank Carrington. The two met in the 1920s and were heavily
involved with the local arts community. Their first project was establishing
the Newark Ark Theater in the late 1920s before moving on to create the Paper
Throughout the playhouse’s existence, it has provided
a variety of services. It began with activities such as ballet, classical
music, art exhibits, and lectures. As the playhouse continued it mainly focused
on musicals and plays. Antoinette Scudder died in 1958, due to this Frank
Carrington employed the help of Angelo Del Rossi. Once Carrington passed Rossi
led the Paper Mill Playhouse, in 1975. Five years later the playhouse
experienced a massive fire yet was funded to its prior state from the local
community, thriving more than ever afterward.