The Muncie Civic Theatre digital collection includes programs and scrapbooks documenting the performances and history of the Muncie Civic Theatre from its inception in 1931 through 2011.
The Muncie Civic Theatre (originally spelled "theater") was founded in March 1931. It was funded by William H. Ball, a second generation member of the Ball Family and an avid theatre supporter. Philip W. McCabee served as the first director for theatre productions from 1931-1934. Their first play, Dulcy, premiered on December 15, 1931 at the Masonic Temple Auditorium. The Muncie Civic Theatre continued to gain community involvement and support and put on performances without interruption until 1943.
During World War II, the Muncie Civic Theatre temporarily ceased formal productions from 1943-1945. However, supporters of the theatre continued to perform radio dramas Friday nights on WLBC. Formal performances resumed in 1946 with a performance of Laura, directed by Horace Burr, starring Ben Janney, Howard Miller, and Ann Crapo. The Muncie Civic Theatre has operated continuously since that time.
Early Muncie Civic Theatre plays were held in the Masonic Temple Auditorium. In 1961, the group initiated plans to acquire a building specifically dedicated to the work of the Muncie Civic Theatre. The Wysor Grand Theatre on East Jackson St., the Liberty Theatre on South Walnut and the Hoosier Theatre on East Main Street were considered as possible sites. The group finally decided on the Hoosier Theatre, which had opened as the Star Theatre in 1904 showcasing vaudeville performances six days a week. The Hoosier had closed its doors in 1954 and was vacant until its purchase in 1961 by Muncie Civic Theatre. The organization spent $300,000 in renovating the old theatre, giving it a seating capacity of 460 seats. The musical comedy The Pajama Game was the first performance in the new venue on November 28, 1961.
This online collection is part of the Muncie Civic Theatre records in Archives and Special Collections. The online collection will continue to grow as more items become available for digitization.
Archives and Special Collections, Muncie Civic Theatre Website