building-outside1Akron Opera House
Akron, Iowa

On the National Register of Historic Places

Opera House Improvements

The Akron Opera House was awarded a grant from the Akron Community Foundation in 2021 to purchase and install new lights above the stage and in front of the balcony, as well as to install a new lightboard to control the lighting for performances. Lights were installed in December and will be ready for upcoming performances.


The Akron Opera House, currently being restored to its turn-of-the-century glory, is one of Iowa's remaining historical gems which community spirit has kept alive. 

Built in 1905, the Opera House held its first performance, "The Homeseekers," in February 1906.  Over the next 100 years, an array of live performances played at the Opera House -- chautaquas, theater, lyccum speeches, medicine shows and opera.  Akron was on the Pembina rail line, which brought traveling troupes of actors, musicians and politicians to rural communities.

Estimates are that Iowa's rural communities built over 1200 opera houses.  Less than 300 still exist today. During the Depression, when the Akron Opera House was closed to performances, Akron refused to let it deteriorate beyond renovation.  The building continued to be rented to local businesses. 

In 1970, high school drama teacher, Mr. Richard Jacobs and his drama group of 60 students, organized volunteer and community energy to reopen the opera house.  Newspaper accounts describe drama students rehearsing plays amid the noise of construction.  Volunteers rebuilt the stage with lumber from an old church and found and salvaged theater seats from an old movie house.  Local women sewed a stage curtain, and someone donated a piano.  Historical accounts also claim that 400 resident bats were removed from the building.  Since then, the theater group has celebrated 34 years of local productions.  In 1974, the Akron Community Theater purchased the building and continued to update  and restore it. 

Today, the opera house is being revitalized once again so that the community can continue to share its rich tradition of live performances
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2022 Season Events

    Friday, February 5, 2022, 7:30 pm

    Prairie Winds Jazz

     

Prairie Winds Jazz ensemble will present a big band and swing dance concert on Saturday, February 5, sponsored by the Birdie & Carol Harris School of Performing Arts and Security National Bank.

The concert will feature an 18-piece band playing a mix of big band classics from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Musicians from across northwest Iowa – most within a 30-mile radius of Akron – will be performing in the band. In addition, the Dordt College Swing Dance Club and Orange City High School Swing Dance Club will provide dance lessons in advance of the concert for anyone interested in learning.



“We are excited to bring a fun new event for all ages to the Akron Opera House. Come, have a seat and listen to the music, or dance the night away,” said Kevin Linder, band leader and co-owner of Birdie & Carol Harris School of Performing Arts. “The historic Akron Opera House is the perfect location to bring together talented musicians from across the region to celebrate the music tradition of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and more."



Dance lessons will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the concert at 7:30. Tickets will be $10 for adults and $5 for students through college age. All tickets will be sold at the door; no reservations needed. Dance lessons are included in the ticket price.

Seating will be available at tables on the floor, chairs in the risers and in the balcony, and the main floor will be open for dancing.

Light snacks, water, lemonade and coffee will be available throughout the evening.






Friday, March 12, 2022, 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm



Missoula Childerens Threatre



The children’s theatre performance presented by Missoula Childrens Theatre will return to the Akron Opera House stage the week of March 7-12, 2022. Two performances of Red Riding Hood will be held at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm on Saturday, March 12.



Students will audition for cast parts at 4pm on March 7, and rehearsals will be held every afternoon/evening that week.



Students in first through seventh grades are invited to audition for the performance. All students interested in auditioning for the play must register online in advance. The number of cast parts is limited by the script and number of costumes brought by the Missoula Children’s Theatre directors. If more than the maximum number of students sign up, a waiting list will be maintained in case of cancellations.



Online registration will open at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15, and be open through Friday, Feb. 28, or until all 60 places are filled. A registration link will also be available at www.akronoperahouse.org and shared on the Akron Opera House Facebook page.

There are also openings for students in grades 7 and 8 to serve as assistant directors. Contact akronoperahouse@gmail.com to volunteer.

Ticket sales will begin on Feb. 15, with adult ($10), senior citizen ($10) and student though high school ($6) tickets available by calling 712-568-2614 or emailing akronoperahouse@gmail.com.

Thank you to City of Akron, Mike’s Inc, Peoples Bank and Friendship & Service Club for sponsoring the children’s theatre production.









April 7 - 10, 2022 (April 7 - 9 7:30 pm, April 10 2:00 pm)
Sister Act - Our Local Community Musical 

Akron Opera House will present the community musical “Sister Act” April 7 through 10. The show was originally planned for April 2020 and the cast is excited to bring the performance to the historic opera house stage. The production will be directed by Amy Linder and Val Philips

Deloris Van Cartier is an aspiring singer in Philadelphia, where she is auditioning to perform at her gangster boyfriends nightclub. Deloris believes that Curtis is going to introduce her to a big producer, but is upset when he tells her she is not ready. Hurt and rejected, Deloris decides to break up with him, but when she goes to find him she accidentally sees him kill one of his cronies. Deloris runs to the police, who place her in hiding at a convent until Curtis is brought to trial. At first, Deloris feels as though it will be the worst thing in the world, chafing against the constraints of convent life and an immovable Reverend Mother, but once she is introduced to the struggling choir at the convent, everything changes. She finds that many of the nuns at the convent are not that different from her, and that they are quite fun to be around. They help give her a bigger purpose in her life, showing her a genuine love and affection that was missing prior to her arrival at the convent. Sister Act is a joyous show that uses music to bring different communities, and lifestyles, together.

Ticket sales will begin on March 13, with adult ($16), senior citizen ($13) and student ($8) tickets available by calling 712-568-2614 or emailing akronoperahouse@gmail.com.

Thank you to Security National Bank and The Akron Hometowner for sponsoring the Sister Act musical.



For Reservations
Email: akronoperahouse@gmail.com
Or Call: 712.568.2614


Ticket Prices: (Unless otherwise noted.)

        Single Event
                Adults  $16
                Seniors (65 and older) $13
                Students $8

         Send payment to:
                Akron Opera House
                151 Reed Street
                Akron, IA  51001
           
Questions? Please contact Doug Olson at daolson@premieronline.net

The Akron Opera House is a 501C3 nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible.

Thank you for supporting the Akron Opera House and The Arts.