Mission & History


A great city deserves serious theatre. Theatre that sparks discourse, builds community, delights, inspires, breaks down barriers, and explores the complexities of the human spirit. Riverside Theatre strengthens the cultural fabric of Iowa City through intimate, engaging productions from classics to new works, fostering a deeper appreciation for the dramatic arts.


A theatre of passionate professionals helping to build an inclusive, world-class cultural city.


Riverside Theatre was founded by Ron Clark, Jody Hovland and Bruce Wheaton in 1981 and is now in its 43rd season.

From September through April we produce a full season of work. In June and July, we produce a summer season centered around the classics and a full production of Shakespeare free for the community.

We are affiliated with Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States, employing actors and designers from all over the country and provide housing, salary, and transportation to visiting actors and directors during their time with Riverside.

As a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization, we’re largely supported by contributors—50% of our income comes from contributions and sponsorships. We employ a year-round staff of seven, and within each season we employ over 100 artists. Riverside Theatre is governed by a volunteer board of directors.



Delivering high-quality art and programming, from vital classics to new works.


Creating diverse and supportive networks of people and ideas through shared experiences.


Adhering to the highest standards of ethics, stewardship, and public trust.


Fostering environments where people and ideas are welcomed, considered seriously, and treated with dignity. Rethinking old systems and norms.


Fostering art that asks big questions and sparks creativity in artists and audiences.