About Chicago Street Theatre
Chicago Street Theatre is celebrating its 64th season of producing live theatre for Valparaiso and the greater Northwest Indiana region. After over 4 decades in residence at Memorial Opera House, our award-winning theatre company began a new chapter of its history in 1997 when we purchased the Chicago Street Theatre, located at 154 West Chicago Street in Valparaiso, Indiana. The theatre underwent an extensive renovation completed February 1, 2008. The theatre lobby, auditorium, and bathrooms were re-designed by the Chicago firm Morris Architects, and construction was expertly managed by Winona Lake Restoration. The intimate 130-seat theatre features stadium seating that makes it an incredible space to enjoy live theatre. Take a look at the over 300 plays and musicals CST has produced by visit our Production History page.
- 1955 - a group of PTA members at Valparaiso's Ben Franklin Junior High School produce a play to raise money for band uniforms. The audience response induces them to start an amateur drama company, and in May of 1955 the Valparaiso Little Theatre Guild is formed. Their first production, "Papa Is All," opens in August at Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso.
- 1957 - the group realizes that their membership ranges beyond Valparaiso and so changes the name to Community Theatre Guild (CTG) and leases the Memorial Opera House, built as a Civil War Memorial in 1893, from the Porter County Commissioners. CTG's mission is established: "to bring living, legitimate theatre to residents of the area and to provide opportunity for participation to those interested in the many activities and crafts associated with theatrical production," and "the rehabilitation and preservation of the Memorial Opera House." The season is set at four productions per year until 1957, when a children's show is added.
- 1964 - the first musical, "Once Upon A Mattress," is presented and is such a success it is decided that one of the main-stage productions will always be a musical.
- 1979 - Beginning with the first Valparaiso Popcorn Festival, CTG supports the event by producing a Popcorn Children's Play each year.
- 1981 – CTG begins participating in the Indiana Community Theatre League State Excerpt Festival
- 1988 - Children at CTG experience “ownership” of their own production “Kids CTG,” which are shows cast with only children and run by junior technicians, beginning with the Winter Carnival.
- 1991 – CTG wins international honors for Best Show and Best Actor in Glasgow International Theatre Festival
- 1993 – CTG begins participating in the Northwest Indiana Excellence in Theatre Foundation and wins Best Actor and Best Director awards
- 1995 – “Kids CTG” becomes an annual, scheduled event 1996 - at the end of CTG’s 40th year, Memorial Opera House is in need of fairly major renovation and CTG must move out of the building. Performances are held at various venues around the area: Machinists' Hall, Valparaiso University, on location (Jimmy's Cafe) and in a rented room dubbed "CTG's Alley Studio."
- 1997 – for artistic and practical reasons, CTG purchases the former Assemblies of God Church and sets about turning it into the Chicago Street Theatre. The season is expanded to nine productions plus regularly-scheduled theatre classes for both children and adults. The productions chosen continue to offer a broad variety of award-winning theatre to enlighten and entertain theatre-goers throughout the region. CTG also begins doing business as: Chicago Street Theatre.
- 2001 – Chicago Street Theatre hires a its first full time staff member
- 2005 – Chicago Street Theatre hires a Box Office Manager
- 2007 – Chicago Street Theatre begins a major renovation to its lobby, auditorium and bathrooms in the late fall and re-opens in February of 2008. The auditorium is renamed the Schilke Miller Mullen Auditorium in honor of generous contributions from Mr. and Mrs. Edward Mullen and Dr. and Mrs. Dane Miller.
- 2008 – Chicago Street Theatre hires a Director of Education
- 2010 – Chicago Street Theatre receives a donation to remodel the upstairs classroom and rehearsal space. The new Edith B. Wood Studio includes a small stage that will accommodate class showcases, members salons, and in the future, intimate studio productions.
- 2012 - Chicago Street Theatre presents Shakespeare in the Park: A Midsummer Night's Dream offering 2 free performances for 2500 people in Valparaiso's new Central Park Plaza.
- 2013 - Chicago Street Theatre co-produces with Genesius Guild A Picasso, the first full production in the Edith B. Wood Studio Theatre.
Chicago Street Theatre continues to actively support artistic ambition, exploration, excellence and stability in our world. Membership at Chicago Street Theatre is open to anyone who wants the opportunity to participate in the activities and crafts associated with theatrical productions, be it onstage or behind-the-scenes.