It’s Friday Night. You have a sitter all lined up but you just can’t decide where to go for date night. “Dinner and a movie” gets pretty routine. Your favorite sports team isn’t in town. Mini golf or bowling? Don’t want to stand around all night. You want to have some thought provoking fun, but just don’t know where to go. Well, did you know that within and around the Indianapolis area there are over 70 different performing arts companies and venues, from small community theaters to touring Broadway shows, bringing you comedy, drama, music, mystery, and everything in between?
Before I moved to Indianapolis over 10 years ago, I had no idea there was so much opportunity to experience live theater here. I had always enjoyed attending live shows, and had even done a fair share of acting before I had children. Coming from an area where there was no live theater within an hour of my house, I was amazed to find the wide array of options for seeing shows in Indy. In the past seven years, I have been fortunate to get back on stage and work behind the scenes with several local groups, and have attended shows as an audience member at countless venues.
During the school year, you can catch student productions at the local colleges such as Butler, Indiana University and Ball State that are top-notch. Many of the local high schools also put on shows that are quite stunning. In the local theaters you can see shows that are focused on children, shows focused on the elderly, and everything in between. In August of each year, Indianapolis has its very own Fringe Festival presenting an unbelievable variety of short shows from local artists and groups from Indiana, around the U.S and even from other countries. In the summer you can catch outdoor shows such as several of Shakespeare’s masterpieces in a number of locations. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s you can find a different Holiday themed show to see every weekend and still not see them all. You can typically find a few different shows around the area every week, typically Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. Some community theater tickets start at just $10, and there are some amazing groups putting on some top level shows for a fraction of the cost you might pay elsewhere to see something comparable. I will admit that occasionally you will run across a show that is very definitely amateur theater, but the majority of shows you can see are well produced and make for a delightful evening out. Yes, big budget movies with recognizable stars and high tech special effects are great. But nothing beats the experience of seeing a story play out right before you, sometimes so close you could reach out and touch the characters themselves. The next time you are at a loss for something to do in the area, consider checking out a local show (A list of most of the local performing arts groups and venues is listed below). I guarantee there is something for everyone.
Acting Up Productions – Actors Theatre of Indiana – Anderson Mainstage – Angel Burlesque – Beef and Boards – The Belfry Theatre – Black Box Theatre Company – BobDirex – Booth Tarkington Civic – Brown County Playhouse – Buck Creek Players – Butler/Clowe’s Memorial – Candlelight Theatre at the Benjamin Harrison House – Carmel Community Players – Carmel Theater Company – Casey Ross Productions – Center Stage Indianapolis – Center Stage Lebanon – Chancel Players of Lafayette – Christian Youth Theatre (CYT) – Clinton County Civic Theatre – ComedySportz – Crazy Lake Acting Company – The Cupboard Presents – Dance Kaleidoscope – Defiance Comedy – Demarco Plays – EclecticPond – Epilogue Players – First Folio Productions – Footlite Musicals – Garfield Shakespeare Company – Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre – Heartland Actors Repertory Theater – Hendricks Civic – Iibada Dance Company – Indiana Performing Arts Center – Indianapolis Repertory Theatre (IRT) – Indianapolis Opera – Indy Fringe – Indy Magic Monthy – Indyprov – Khaos Company Theatre – Know No Stranger – Madame Walker Theatre – Merry Mac Players – Mud Creek Players – Murat / Old National Center – Myers Dinner Theater – Mystery Café Indy – Nickel Plate Players – NoExit – Oaklanden Civic Theatre – Off Main Street Players Zionsville – Phoenix Theatre – Pike Performing Arts Center – Putnam County Playhouse, Greencastle – Q Artistry – Red Barn Summer Theatre Frankfort – Ricks-Weil Theatre Company – Sapphire Theatre Company – Shelby County Players – Stageworthy Productions – Strand Theatre of Shelbyville – Sugar Creek Players – Summer Stock Stage – Ten West Center for the Arts – Theatre at the Milk Building – Theatre for Christ – Theatre on the Square – The Theatre Within – Three Dollar Bill Comedy – Warren Performing Arts Center – Wayne Township Community Theatre – Westfield Playhouse – The White Rabbit Cabaret – Wisdom Tooth Theater Project – Young Actors Theater (YAT)