2021-2022 Capital Campaign

A great city deserves serious theatre that sparks discourse, builds community, delights, inspires, breaks down barriers, and explores the complexities of the human spirit.

Riverside Theatre was founded in 1981 by Ron Clark, Jody Hovland, and Bruce Wheaton who believed that serious-minded professional theatre belonged in the heart of Iowa City. 40 years later, Riverside Theatre proudly continues that tradition: strengthening the cultural fabric of our community with intimate, engaging productions from classics to new works, fostering a deep appreciation for the dramatic arts, and providing a home for regional theatre professionals.

• Core Member of the National New Play Network, an organization dedicated to the incubation and creation of new plays. More than 40 plays have received world premieres at Riverside.

From 1990 until 2020, Riverside called Gilbert Street its home. A new permanent venue will advance Riverside’s vision: to be a theatre of passionate professionals helping to build an inclusive, world class cultural city.

A new 6,800 square foot, 150-seat performance venue for Riverside Theatre on the third floor of the historic Crescent Block Building.


150-seat black box with flexible seating and variable staging configurations. Entirely energy efficient lighting advances Riverside Theatre’s commitment to more
environmentally friendly, sustainable, and innovative theatre-making.

“Not a bad seat in the house.” The versatile design enhances immediacy and intimacy, connecting audiences and artists in creative ways.


Triple the size of the Gilbert Street lobby with a view of the historic Ped Mall and floor-to-ceiling windows. Patrons can enjoy a beverage or conversation before and after the show. Doubles as a space for concerts, intimate musical performances, cabarets, and gallery.


Expanded makeup and dressing stations, fully furnished green room and kitchenette, video and sound monitors, a close-circuit call system, and ADA accessible dressing room, restroom, and backstage area.


Riverside will expand operations from 100 nights per year to 150 nights per year, with nightly capacity increasing from 118 to 150. Increased staffing will include patron services and box office personnel, concessions and bar manager, Education and Outreach Coordinator, and facilities/housekeeping personnel.

To make this next act a reality, Riverside will launch its first capital campaign in twenty years, with a goal of raising $1.8 million.

Capital Expenses (79%) $1,430,305 Operational Support (16%) $292,080 Campaign Costs (5%) $99,166 Riverside will elevate the backstage, pre-show, and post-show experiences to match the outstanding productions ON stage.

Riverside will elevate the backstage, pre-show, and post-show experiences to match the outstanding productions ON stage.
We are proud of our legacy of support for Riverside. The Theatre shares our value of community engagement. Riverside takes seriously the power of live theater to strengthen the fabric of the community at the same time that it is devoted to nurturing a community of local artists.”



As a patron and supporter of Riverside Theatre, you serve an instrumental role in building a state-of-the-art theatre that will house and cultivate the next 40 years of dramatic arts downtown.

• More flexibility to stage thought-provoking productions and amplify artistic innovation

• Improved audience comfort and amenities

• Programming that expands the types of stories we tell — and who gets to tell them

• Audience initiatives that further Riverside’s commitment to accessible theatre for all

• A vibrant space for community, learning, and collaboration

• A place for local artists to hone their crafts and a regional destination for playwrights and performers

• Opportunities to deepen partnerships with arts and educational organizations, creating more shared experiences and resources within our community

• A performing arts destination for area residents and visitors that contributes to a burgeoning arts and culture district downtown.

We’re thinking of that area as a gathering place, a place for discourse, featuring a unique vantage point of the Ped Mall. This is more than just a place that you rush into to see a play and leave as soon as the show is done.”


Riverside is launching into its next chapter, and the future is dazzling. It’s not just that we’ll have a fancy new theatre with a fancy new stage. It’s more than that: it’s a home for our grand ambitions. It’s a place for our hopes and ideals.”