It is with deep heartache that we are announcing our final curtain call. Old Creamery Theatre has closed, permanently.
Like many other organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to temporarily close our doors in March of 2020. After an attempt at a partial re-opening this past fall/winter 2021 with roadshows, we had the hopes of putting on a regular season of shows in 2022. While the roadshows were considered a success, it was just too little, too late. The financial pressures endured during this extended closure have proven to be a catastrophe from which we could not recover. Coupled with the existing non-profit budget and all the usual expenses which were still incurred while closed, there was simply no way to continue to stay open.
Some federal funding was secured by the theatre but it arrived too late to make an impact on keeping the theatre afloat.
This decision was not made lightly. Throughout the time we have been making these tough decisions, we haven't lost sight of the history of the theatre and its impact on the community. The Old Creamery Theatre started in 1971 in Garrison, Iowa, in a former Co-Op Dairy building. We have been Iowa's longest running professional theatre company.
Over the years, we have grown and were able to offer six Main Stage shows each year, each running for up to five weeks. In 2007, we added productions for young audiences which consisted of four shows each year, delighting the crowds with fairytales and stories from classic children's literature. We must also mention the other successful endeavors of the theatre: studio shows, roadshows, the countless shows put on at local schools, our children's writing contest and summer camp: Camp Creamery.
Above all, every moment of amazing entertainment was only possible because of the dedicated staff, generous volunteers, and talented performers. To any and all of you reading this, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. In the summer of 2021, when the OCT board was forced to make the tough decision to (then, temporarily) close the theater, we were able to retain one staff member who has kept everything running throughout these unprecedented and incredibly trying times. That person is Pat Wagner. Pat, thank you. You have been the super glue holding the theatre together and your infinite patience and wisdom will never be forgotten.
Pat said she will miss all of the theatre’s patrons who came out to see shows and who became part of the Old Creamery family. “It touched my heart to see so many who truly cared and loved the Old Creamery Theatre”, she said. Reflecting on her 23 years of service, Pat said she was "fortunate to have worked alongside a lot of great talent who always put their heart and soul into the theatre in order to provide high-quality professional entertainment." She also mentioned her appreciation for the commitment, dedication, and support of the Board of Directors during these recent difficult times.
Old Creamery Theatre extends their heartfelt thanks to the public for 50 years of support, engagement, and dedication. A non-profit organization is a reflection of the community it serves and Old Creamery has been supported by the finest staff, volunteers, talent, and patrons for 50 years. The memory of the artistic impact of the live theatre experience will always be treasured.