Civic History

News & Events
January 15
Winter Session I - Whose Line Is It, Anyway? More details
January 16
Out of the Box Theatre More details
January 17
Winter Session II - Behind the Scenes: All Things Tech! More details
January 18 – February 2
Civic Main Stage presents Into the Woods Show details
January 29
Civic Staged Readings presents Maize Show details

Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette is one of the oldest continuously active theatre organizations in Indiana, founded in 1931 as the Lafayette Little Theatre (LLT). The original board of directors included nine people, and the LLT was formally founded on Sunday, September 13, 1931. In 1966, LLT was reorganized and incorporated as Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette.

The 1950s were the golden age of LLT, but by the end of the 1950s, LLT had experienced a significant decline in memberships. A meeting of all LLT members was called for May 15, 1965. A new board of directors was elected, including Patty Barrett, Jane Chandler, Al Chiscon, Dick Forsythe, Jack Irvine, Homer Jordan, and Sheldon Pershing. Stuart Main was the first new president. The decision was made to let the unincorporated association end and to form a not-for-profit organization to take its place, emphasizing the civic nature of the new enterprise, Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette.

For several years, Civic Theatre was a company without a home. Civic found a permanent performance space in 1978—the old Monon Train Depot at the corner of 5th and North Streets. Civic Theatre is Greater Lafayette’s community theatre in the purest sense of the word. A theatre that entertains the community, serves the community, reflects the community, and involves the community. In 1993, Civic Theatre’s board of directors made the decision to hire its first full-time arts administrator. Larry Sommers was hired as the first Managing Director. Under Mr. Sommer’s leadership, Civic Theatre embarked on a large summer arts program, Civic Under the Stars, which was a series of performances at the large outdoor Tippecanoe County Amphitheatre, adding thousands of new patrons each year.

Steven Koehler took over as the Managing Director in 2006. Mr. Koehler implemented additional outreach programs, including the Pay What You Can preview performances and several programs with the Lafayette School Corporation. Mr. Koehler also led several fundraising efforts for projects including a new roof, a new HVAC system for the Monon Depot Theatre, and a mortgage-burning campaign that helped free Civic Theatre of all long-term debt.

Currently, Civic Theatre is striving to become a better corporate citizen. With generous help from North Central Health Services, Tipmont Envirowatts, and several generous patrons, Civic Theatre has adopted green technology whenever possible, including all LED lighting in the lobby, house lighting, and work lighting on stage. It is the hope of Civic Theatre to continue these and other green initiatives well into the future.