The Little Theatre Company That Could…
Laughing until you cry. . . crying because it’s all you can do. . . tapping your feet and singing from your seat. . . What is this? Broadway, off broadway, off-off broadway? Actually, it’s how volunteer community actors from Indian Valley Theatre have been thrilling audiences from Sandwich and area towns for more than three decades – and the kind of shtick they do best. IVT all began with a deep passion to stage live theatre for the community to enjoy. A small, but incredibly committed group — Mimi Bryan, Barbara Holland, Trudy Hinnah, Larane Knight, Lois Lindstrom, Joan McInnes, Sharon Lohmeier, and Ellen Werner — all dreamt big from the makeshift green rooms in their basements.
The details of the how, when and where productions would be staged were not important at that time. True to their art form, much of the planning was ad lib for these volunteer actors in the early days. They were not about to exit stage left. Before they knew it, the curtain was about to rise on a new chapter in community theatre. A generous start-up donation from the American Association of University Women, which also founded IVT’s Children’s Theater Workshop that inaugural year, hit the box office and the dream came alive. It was time for IVT’s cast and crew to break a leg at its very first production — Hansel and Gretel at Plano Middle School. A star was born! From this modest beginning and the passion from that original troupe, community pride and support for local performing arts has also blossomed.
In 1986, Indian Valley Theatre found a real stage to call home when it partnered with the Association to Restore City Hall (ARCH), and began staging performances at the newly renovated Historic Sandwich Opera House. IVT’s debut there was “The Showcase”, a review of all its previous shows. IVT was finally provided with the perfect, cultural-rich setting where the community could continue experiencing its shows for years to come. Recognizing the need for this wonderful asset to the community, IVT was also bestowed a seat on the ARCH board, an arrangement which still continues to this day. Now more than three decades later, IVT regales over 2,000 people each year. From musicals to comedies and everything in between, IVT’s rich and diverse history has included more than 200 performances.
IVT also continues to be volunteer driven to this day. You’ll even see some of the founding members that made this great organization possible joining the newest members on stage. Curtain call after curtain call, audiences erupt in applause, showing that IVT continues to take its cues in the social, cultural and community core of the Fox Valley theatre scene. They say that “the show must go on” and go on it does. For over 36 years and many more to come.