St. Croix Festival Theatre has been providing professional live theater for residents of the St. Croix Valley for more than 25 years, thanks to a bit of serendipity and a lot of passion from a handful of key individuals.
When a small acting troupe’s plans to open at a playhouse in Lake Geneva, Wis., fell through back in 1990, a chance sighting of a newspaper clipping about a historic theater being refurbished in St. Croix Falls sent them to check out the St. Croix Falls Civic Auditorium as a substitute for the summer.
The auditorium, built in 1917 as a vaudeville playhouse, has been home to the St. Croix Festival Theatre ever since; since 1990, the nonprofit troupe has produced more than 100 plays for more than 200,000 residents and visitors.
This summer, former managing director Mark Baer returns to direct the summer show Clue: The Musical, based on the popular board game. Elizabeth Albers, who started with the theater last year and was recently offered a permanent staff position, will appear in this summer’s productions of Private Lives and Steel Magnolias
St. Croix Festival Theatre also acts as a cultural resource in the community, offering summer workshops for children ages 5 to 12, and acting-intensive classes and internships for college-bound students, as well as volunteer opportunities.
“We rely very heavily on our wonderful troupe of volunteers,” interim artistic director Andrew Bradford Benson says. “They really are the lifeblood of Festival Theatre.” 715.483.3387; festivaltheatre.org
St. Croix Falls Civic Auditorium is undergoing renovations this summer, so most shows will be held at other venues. Tickets are $26 for adults and $13.50 for youth ages 5–25.