Indianapolis Theatre Companies: Live Art on the Boards

Theatrical arts are a huge part of Indianapolis culture and society. There are more theatres in Indianapolis producing better quality shows than in most similar cities in Indiana and throughout the United States. Indianapolis Hoosiers lean on these thespians to fill an important niche in their lives. Through the art of theatre, one can come into contact with human drama and comedic foibles one might never experience otherwise, and in that manner, come closer to self-understanding, even as you’re being entertained.

Below is a listing of the many Indianapolis performing arts groups that offer stage plays to the public on a regular basis, from the hilarious improv of the ComedySportz Arena to the venerable professionals at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. Every performance is an opportunity for audience, cast and crew to be delighted, ennobled and fulfilled. Support your Indianapolis theatre companies, a major category of art in Indianapolis, and see first-hand just how enlightening they can be.

Indianapolis Theatre Companies

  Actors Theatre of Indiana – This award-winning and highly lauded group of dedicated thespians produces top shelf stage plays and musicals in Carmel, Indiana, a suburb just north of Indy.
  American Cabaret Theatre – Considered to be Indianapolis’ primary musical theatre company, the ACT formerly resided in the historic Atheanaum Building, but it has recently moved to The Connoisseur Room on Michigan Street. It features both established productions and original musicals, all of which are steamy and deliciously ribald.
  Asante Children’s Theatre of Indianapolis – Focusing on children ages 9 to 21, the Asante Children’s Theatre seeks to enhance the understanding of African and African-American culture and experience through the theatrical arts, music, dance performance, and oral storytelling.
  The Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre – Not only does the B&B appease your appetite for great Broadway shows like The Producers and A Christmas Carol, it also has a sumptuous, full-fledged dinner buffet to satisfy your more traditional appetite. Beef & Boards also hosts a children’s theatre and many other live Indianapolis events.
  Broadway Across America – This musical theatre company, recognized across the nation, makes its Indianapolis homes in the Butler University’s Clowes Memorial Hall and the Murat Center.
  Buck Creek Players Theatre – Founded in 1973, the Buck Creek Players Theatre is an award-winning not-for-profit organization that offers professional quality theater productions for community theater prices. Buck Creek also awards scholarships to benefit young actors.
  Butler University Theater – This is an important source of training in the theatrical arts for college-age thespians, and a highly respected venue for the presentation of all kinds of innovative stageplays.
  Carmel Community Players – Both amateurs and professionals team up to present first-class stage plays at their new home in Clay Terrace, the Carmel Community Playhouse.
  Center Stage Productions is a community theater group in Indianapolis based out of Southport Presbyterian Church. They offer family friendly entertainment at affordable prices.
  The Coachlight Musical Theatre, in Brown County’s Nashville, was an almost instant success after their recent opening. The facility is one of the nicest of its kind around.
  ComedySportz Arena – This Indianapolis favorite is an improvisation-focused venue that offers entertainment for residents of all ages. It is one of the chosen venues for the indyFringe Festival.
  Epilogue Players Theatre – Founded in 1980, this community theatre focuses on developing actors and actresses who are 50 and over and holds open auditions for its cast members.
  Heartland Actors’ Repertory Theatre – A high-quality, nonprofit group dedicated to bringing the best in classic and contemporary plays to the stage and thereby make a meaningful and lasting contribution to the Indianapolis performing arts community.
  Footlite Musicals – This long-standing theatre puts out a musical every six weeks. It also offers courses in both onstage and backstage subjects.. Located in the Hedback Theatre, formerly the Civic Theatre of Indianapolis.
  Indiana Repertory Theatre – Founded in 1972, the historic Indiana Repertory Theatre puts on nine shows every year and is a “Theatre Laureat,” as designated by the Indiana General Assembly in 1991. (IRT), located on Washington Street in Indianapolis downtown, produces first-class stage plays and concerts, and also provides a teaching ground for promising actors and actresses. Grand scale sets and technically superb productions are the norm in this premier, non-profit theatrical facility. Just a half-block from the Circle Centre Mall.
  Indianapolis Civic Theatre – The ICT is one of the top ten largest civic theaters in the United States, and is the nation’s longest continuously-run civic theater. Located in Marian College, the Indianapolis Civic Theatre provides great performances and also educational programs to nurture growing Indianapolis actors and actresses.
  The indyFringe Festival has grown to become part of the very fabric of Indianapolis. Its home base, the indyFringe Building, is a newly renovated performance space owned by the Festival  and is available at low-cost to performing arts groups.
  The Irving Theater is a community gathering place in the center of Indy. Within its historic halls, visitors can expect to be treated to plays, music concerts other such productions.
  The Mud Creek Players – It all began during the World War II gasoline shortages, when imaginative people were looking for cheaper entertainment close to home. They would read plays together while sewing for the war effort. Volunteer work became inextricably linked with theatre, and today this group produces plays, potluck dinners and generally lays the groundwork for social conxciousness in Indy.
  Murat Theatre (now known as the Old National Center) – One of Indianapolis’s oldest performing arts venues, the Murat Theatre is one part of the Murat Centre. It boasts gigantic towers, roofs made of copper, intricate brick patterns, stained glass windows and arched entryways and halls throughout. It takes part in the indyFringe Festival every August, and is also one of two hosts (the other is Clowes Memorial Hall) for Broadway Across America shows.
  Mystery Café Dinner Theatre – This unique Indianapolis theater venue produces energetic, interactive murder mysteries that weave their way through your dinner courses. The food is from The Milano Inn, a popular Italian restaurant in Indianapolis.
  NoExit Theater Company – Making the best of dozens of different performing arts venues around Indy, this company’s motto is “imagination without boundaries.” They are now a force majeur among Indianapolis stage companies, and have carved out for themselves a solid niche there, especially at the popular indyFringe Festival.
  Oaklandon Civic Theatre – Tracing its roots all the way back to 1850, the Oaklandon Civic Theatre is one of many historic landmarks in Indianapolis. The Theatre serves as an outlet for local playwrights to display their work and to provide the community with access to the performing arts through entertaining and enlightening stage productions.
  Phoenix Theatre – One of only three central Indiana theatres with Actors Equity Association status, the Phoenix Theatre is a professional contemporary theatre with two intimate-sized perfomance spaces. It features a number of issue-oriented plays each year and is part of the indyFringe Festival. The Phoenix Theatre grew to maturity at their present location in the turn-of-the-century church in the Mass Ave district where Jim Jones once plied his trade. As you might expect, they have a reputation for edginess. One of the must-see’s on your list of Indianapolis things to do.
  Putnam County Playhouse – This is a well-established community theatre venue in Greencastle, Indiana. The facility is a charmingly renovated red barn built in the early 1900s.
  Ricks Centre for the Arts – This newly renovated Art Deco/Art Moderne movie theatre in downtown Greenfield, Indiana offers top drawer tech in their 386-seat auditorium and Art Gallery.
  Rush County Playhouse – This pleasant facility is home to the popular Rush County Players, located in Rushville, Indiana.
  Strange, hairy, and imminently thought-provoking are all apt descriptions for the ShadowApe Theatre Company. The company usually produces only one show a year, choosing different venues around Indy, gathering their players and crew from some of the best in the state. Nobody who knows anything about Indianapolis theater would ever miss one of these unique events.
  Storytelling Arts of Indiana is an Indianapolis non-profit organization committed to spreading the art of storytelling throughout the state by offering special events, performances, workshops, and festivals.
  The Artists’ Studio, also known as TAS, is located in the nearby suburb of Fishers, Indiana. This all-in-one performing arts venue offers training and live performances in dance, music and theatre.
  The Theatre on the Square – One of the most prominent theaters on Mass Ave, The Theatre on the Square (AKA TOTS) has won wide acclaim with its energetic, high-quality, and prolific productions. It features two different stages that both offer a wide variety of original plays, and is a participant in the indyFringe Festival.
  The Theater Within produces socially conscious theater in an attempt to spark conversation among the people of Indianapolis.
  The Susurrus Performance Group is an experimental company that treats the public to outside-the-box performance arts that embrace dance, music and theatre.
  University of Indianapolis Theatre – The comprehensive department of theater at the University of Indianapolis offers everything an aspiring actor needs to become competent in the field, while producing show after show that the public loves.
  Young Actors Theatre – This energetic group has taken over the space inside the Athenaeum where the American Cabaret Theater used to be, and taken up the mantle of infusing young actors with the tools of the trade.

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