Riverside Theatre is a professional theatre that connects artists and audiences through intimate, engaging, and provocative productions from the classics to new works, and provides an artistic home for regional theatre professionals.
Riverside Theatre was founded by Ron Clark, Jody Hovland and Bruce Wheaton in 1981.
Each year, from September through April we produce a full season of work—including classic plays, new plays, musicals, a monologue festival, and more—at our theatre on Gilbert Street. During June and July, we produce a summer season in Iowa City’s Lower City Park.
As a professional theatre company, we are affiliated with Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. We employ actors from all over the country and provide housing, salary and transportation to visiting actors and directors during their employment at Riverside.
We’re a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization, which means we’re largely supported by contributors—50% of our income comes from contributions and sponsorships. We employ a year-round staff of seven, and within each season we employ over 100 artists. Riverside Theatre is governed by a volunteer board of directors.
Key Moments in Our First 30 Years
Dec. 1981 Ron Clark, Jody Hovland and Bruce Wheaton found Riverside Theatre and begin rehearsing The Exercise at the Old Armory Theatre
Mar. 1983 1st production at Old Brick, Sea Marks
Jul. 1990 Construction for Riverside Theatre's home on Gilbert Street begins
Sept. 1990 A. . . My Name is Alice opens the Gilbert Street theatre
1990 Outstanding Achievement in the Arts Award, State of Iowa
Aug. 1996 1st co-production with Cornell College, The Cherry Orchard
1999 Groundbreaking for the Riverside Festival Stage
June 2000 Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival is launched with Twelfth Night
2008 – Iowa City flooding. The Shakespeare Festival was presented at City High.
2010-2011 30th anniversary season. Riverside provides residency to Working Group Theatre.
2011- Riverside Theatre becomes a member of the National New Play Network (NNPN).
2012 - The summer season, previously called the Shakespeare Festival, changes its name to Riverside Theatre in the Park to reflect a greater variety of summer programming while still offering one Shakespeare piece each year.
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