Candlelight Theatre offers exceptional theatre performances on a stage unlike any other. Each season features plays within the 23rd President’s historic mansion, which provides an authentic backdrop. Creative Director Donna Wing, Resident Playwright James Trofatter and a dedicated company of seasoned actors perform a combination of mysteries, comedies and thrilling historically-inspired tales.
Donna spent her childhood and teen years in both New York City and Tulsa, Oklahoma where she was a young dancer, actress and TV model for a local teen scene show. After a hiatus from theater, she returned to the boards after moving to Indianapolis in 2000. In 2003, with the support of Phyllis Geeslin, she founded the Candlelight Theatre Company. She holds a doctorate in education from the University of Tulsa in conjunction with the University of London, England. In 2012, she was a partner fellow in the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Her project focused on creating innovative art delivery paradigms of which Candlelight Theatre is a prototype.
Jim was born and raised in north-central New Jersey. He holds a B.S. in Zoology from Duke University, an M.S. in Differential and Developmental Cell Biology from Rutgers, The State University, and a Ph.D. in Medical and Molecular Genetics from Indiana University. In 2003, Jim retired from academia to fully focus his efforts on writing plays and acting. He has performed at Theatre on the Square, Edyvean Repertory Theatre, the Irvington Repertory Theatre, the Oaklandon Civic Theatre, and Candlelight Theatre, as well as in various locations during the Indianapolis Fringe Festival. His first three full-length plays based on “Harmony” books of Philip Gulley were produced by the Irvington Repertory Theatre. In addition to play writing and acting, Jim was technical director for Theatre on the Square from 2005-2012. Candlelight Theatre and the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site have been Jim’s creative home since 2004; he was made Resident Playwright in 2006. He has directed, written and acted in the Ghost Tales series since 2006, has directed and acted in the Spring salon productions since 2004, and has written the ‘Twas the Night Before… series since 2016. As well as having written some of the Spring short plays, Jim has written numerous versions of plays based on the real-life murders attributed to Nancy Clem, who was tried by Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis in 1868.
Share the life stories, arts and culture of your 23rd President
Renew your membership with us.
Support a legacy.
Between October 30 and December 13, our elevator will be out of service as we improve accessibility at the Presidential Site. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
Thank you for being an important part of the Presidential Site and sharing a legacy in action!