The Indiana Insider Blog

Civic Theatres in Indiana

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about live theatres around downtown Indianapolis. And while I missed a few theatres we have around town (Asante Children’s Theatre, Beef & Boards, as well as theatres out in the suburbs), I realized I was also giving short shrift to other theatres in other cities.

I also realized that if you type “theatre” enough, it starts to look funny.

Most cities that have a live theatre usually have a civic theatre. Many of them have other independent and community theatres (Bloomington has its Playwrights Project, for example), but I wanted to focus on the “civic” theatre experience specifically.

So here is the list of other civic theatres I was able to find around the state of Indiana.

  • Fort Wayne Civic Theatre: The Fort Wayne Civic Theatre puts on several classic shows each year, plus some new originals. I was particularly intrigued last year by their performance of “A Few Good Men” by Aaron Sorkin of “West Wing” fame. I love Aaron Sorkin’s work, and thought “A Few Good Men” was a great movie. And turning it into a play is particularly gutsy, so kudos to Fort Wayne Civic for doing this. Coming up in May is the play “Lombard,” followed by the Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival, which I assume is actually a festival, and not an oddly worded play.
  • Lafayette Civic Theatre: I always judge a theatre based on their season. I look for plays I have never heard of, combined with playwrights that I have. I’m not a fan of the classics, because they’re done to death by every theatre everywhere. Lafayette Civic Theatre has what looks like an exciting season lined up for 2013-2014. They’re showing “Still Kicking” and “Bus Stop,” plus a play by Agatha Christie. Their one “known” play is “Lost In Yonkers” by Neil Simon, which while it’s a standard, is usually not shown as often as “Arsenic and Old Lace” or “Hello Dolly.” I may have to make the 75 minute trip north of Indianapolis to catch a couple of these.
  • Muncie Civic Theatre: The only time I’ve been in the Muncie Civic Theatre was when I was in high school, and we were being fitted for costumes for our school’s showing of “You Can’t Take It With You.” But I’ve known several Muncie-area actors who starred in Muncie Civic shows.
  • Richmond Civic Theatre: Man, talk about shooting for the moon, the Richmond Civic Theatre is firing up its rockets. WhenI checked out their website, I saw that they’re featuring “Guys and Dolls” in the middle of May, will show “The Little Mermaid” in July, and they’re also holding auditions for “Les Miserables.” After the movie’s smashing success, anyone taking that on has some courage, and I think they’re going to do it justice.
  • Kokomo Civic Theatre: There’s only one show left in the 2012-2013 season at the Kokomo Civic Theatre — Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.” Kokomo has a four-show season, and last year’s also saw “Completely Hollywood (Abridged),” “The Gifts of the Magi” over Christmas, and “My Fair Lady” last fall. There’s no word on the 2013-2014 season yet.
  • Elkhart Civic Theatre: Located in little Bristol, Indiana (Elkhart County), in the Bristol Opera House, the Elkhart Civic Theatre hosts several plays per year, plus summer theatre camps for area kids. In May, they’re doing “All Shook Up” and a performance of “La Vie En Rose: The Music of Edith Piaf” on May 31.
  • Indianapolis Civic Theatre: This is the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, which now lives in the Carmel Arts District, north of Indianapolis. It seems like a weird place for the “Indianapolis” Civic Theatre, until you realize that the New York Jets and Giants played in the Meadowlands in New Jersey for years. But the move has let them put on bigger plays in bigger venues that can hold more people, and so far, everyone has seemed to enjoy it.
  • Park Theatre Civic Center: Located in North Vernon (Jennings County), this is a multi-use stage, with plays and musical acts. Last month, Park Theatre and the Jennings County Players put on a showing of “Always, Patsy Cline.”
  • South Bend Civic Theatre: This is the oldest continuously-operating theatre company in the South Bend/Mishawaka area. It was founded in 1957, and puts on plays in the Bendix Theatre, at the Morris Performing Arts Center, and the DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts at Notre Dame University. But their main building at 403 N. Main holds both the Wilson Mainstage Auditorium and the Warner Studio Theatre.
  • Hendricks Civic Theatre: The Hendricks Civic Theatre in Danville, Indiana is currently the only community theatre performing in all of Hendricks County. They’re showing “Amateurs” in May, “Hallelujah Girls” in June, and are taking auditions for “Hairspray” at the beginning of May. Last year also feature “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Little Mermaid Jr.,” and “The Moon Over the Brewery” wraps up in April 2013.
  • Monroe County Civic Theatre: Of course, you can’t leave out Bloomington and Monroe County. The Monroe County Civic Theatre has a strong history of theatre performance, especially when you’re just a short distance from Indiana’s performing arts university. Coming up on their schedule is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in June and “The Three Musketeers” in July.
  • Community Theatre of Terre Haute: Officially called the Community Theatre of Terre Haute, the CTTH puts on 4 plays and 1 musical every year. The 2012-2013 season wraps up in June after showings of “The Red Velvet Cake War” (I LOVE red velvet cake!) and “Social Security” in May and early June.
  • Evansville Civic Theatre: The Evansville Civic Theatre is replaying parts of my childhood with showings of “M*A*S*H” and “Xanadu,” the roller disco movie from the 1970s. “Three Days of Rain” looked especially intriguing, after a recent Broadway success and Pulitzer Prize. No word on the 2013-2014 season yet. The ECT is a multi-use stage as well, playing host to several music performances throughout the year.

So, did I leave anyone out? Have you been to any of these theatres? What’s your favorite? And where will you be sure to visit again? Leave a comment and let us know what you think of Indiana’s theatre scene.

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Written by : is a professional blogger and social media consultant. He is also a humor columnist in several weekly papers around Indiana, and on his own blog at ErikDeckers.com. A supporter of the local arts scene, Erik is a rabid fan of the Indy Fringe Theatre Festival in the summer. Erik is married and a father of three, and a Ball State alum. Erik receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development — and a warm fuzzy feeling — for blogging. For more information, see our FTC Disclosure page.