Oaklandon Civic Theatre - About Us

Building History

In 1850, the Oaklandon Universalist Church constructed a frame building in downtown Oaklandon, formerly known as Oakland. The building was soon replaced by a new brick structure which was dedicated in 1878, free of debt. As a result of the church's rapid growth, several new features were added including a fully equipped stage that would be used for both church and Oaklandon community functions. In February 1920, a fire at the Red Men Lodge next door quickly spread and ravaged the church building. By 1921, a new structure was erected, but short-lived as the Red Men Lodge caught fire again in 1926 and destroyed the church. Rebuilt with bricks from the origianl building,the stage and dressing rooms were preserved, as well as the heavy oak firewall which requires at least two people to operate. For the next 50 years this stage was used by Oaklandon High School and surrounding schools and organizations for plays, events, and graduations.
 
In 1975, the stage became dormant as the area schools developed their own facilities. The stage, dressing rooms, and red velour curtain were inactivated by the lowering of the firewall and transformed into classrooms and storage areas. This was to change in 2004.

Theatre History

In 2002, a local actress, Donna Wing, happened to "discover" the stage, which was being used as a storage area. She had been looking for a venue in which to open her own company, and initially explored renting the space. After approaching the Oaklandon UU board, the decision was made that she could open a company as a subsidiary of the church. Thus Oaklandon Civic Theatre was born.
 
In September 2004, OCT opened with John Nassivera's "Making a Killing," and has enjoyed great success since. Four plays, "A Piece of My Heart," "84 Charing Cross Road," "The Beams Are Creaking," and "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail" have been accepted into the Spirit and Place Festival; nine local playwrights have staged their work at OCT; and one actress was awarded an international service award for her portrayal of a Vietnam nurse.
 
The OCT building has a "notable" rating by the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Architecture. The Oaklandon District is recognized in both the National Register of Historic Places and the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures.

Mission Statement

Oaklandon Civic Theatre offers a haven for artists to create via a variety of expression. We offer works of local playwrights, as well as classical and contemporary plays written by nationally known authors. Our productions are designed to address the emotional and intellectual needs of our community by ranging from being simply entertaining to being thought-provoking, controversial, and enlightening.

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