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Tuesday May 28th 2024

Dead Poets Society | 1989

Dead Poets Society film location: Everett Theatre, West Main Street, Middletown, Delaware
Dead Poets Society film location: Neil plays Puck: Everett Theatre, West Main Street, Middletown, Delaware | Photograph: flickr / Seth Gaines

In 1989, this was Delaware’s only claim to movie fame, a well-done, if slightly predictable, tearjerker from the ‘inspiring teacher who formed me’ genre.

‘Welton Academy’, where the radical techniques of English teacher John Keating (Robin Williams) conflict dramatically with the traditional ethos, is St Andrew’s School, Noxontown Pond Road, Middletown, a private school situated in 2,000 acres of farmland about two miles from Noxontown Pond, between Wilmington and Dover, northern Delaware.

The theatre where stage-struck Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard) plays Puck (apparently “the lead role”) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is the historic Everett Theatre, 51 West Main Street, Middletown. Built as a cinema in 1922, the Everett closed its doors in 1979, crumbling into disrepair, until 1982 when a group of concerned citizens formed Associated Community Talents, a non-profit corporation, bought, and began renovation of, the theatre. Today it functions as both a legitimate live theatre and a cinema.

The town is the old colonial town of New Castle, six miles south of Wilmington on Route 9, where Mr Perry’s (Kurtwood Smith) house is 708 Edgehill Road at Hopeton Road, in the affluent suburb of Westover Hills (please note that this is a private home, and I don’t have to remind you not to disturb residents).

The cave, where the society meets, is Beaver Valley Cave (once called Wolf Rock Cave) – Delaware’s only cave – a registered historic landmark on the Pennsylvania border. The cave, which requires advanced caving skills, is privately owned and currently closed. For the film, the interior was recreated in a warehouse in New Castle.