Founded in 1936, Topeka Civic Theatre is the oldest continuously running community dinner theatre in the country. In July of 1999, TCTA completed construction of our new home in the former Gage Elementary School. The school was built around 1929 and is rich in architecture and design.
The theatre has achieved much recognition since finding a permanent home where its creative energies could at last be focused on production values. In 1975, Managing Director Don Bachmann’s production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest won the state community theatre festival and advanced to the regional in Omaha. In 1979, Bachmann’s production of The Good Doctor, starring Charley Oldfather, went all the way to National, won it, and represented the United States at an international amateur theatre festival the following spring in Dundalk, Ireland. In 1981, P.K. Worley’s production of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris won the state festival and was performed at the regional in Topeka. Terrance McKerrs took two productions to nationals, I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road in 1985, which won third place, and The Taffetas in 1991, which won second place, while McKerrs won the “Best Director” award.
In 2013, TCTA began a partnership with Shawnee County to manage Helen Hocker Theater in Gage Park. Through that partnership, TCTA continues to enrich theatre programming at HHT and through outreach programs throughout Shawnee County.