Iowa Summer Rep
For nearly a century Iowa Summer Rep was a central part of Eastern Iowa’s cultural life. Beginning with Edward C. Mabie's arrival on campus in 1920, summer play production became a regular feature at the University of Iowa. In the early 1920s, summer productions were part of the Drama Department curriculum and performances were given by a community/university group called The Out-of-Door Players. Performances were presented at several locations including City Park, the slope to the west of Old Capitol, and the Quadrangle courtyard. Performances were so popular that one performance during the summer of 1921 was reported to have had an audience of 2,000.
Beginning in 1939 and continuing for more than 40 years, summer theatre productions were a part of the University's Fine Arts Festival, which included programs, lectures, and performances from the Departments of Art, Music, Dramatic Art, and Dance. Beginning in 1961, Summer Repertory Theatre was established and presented four plays simultaneously in an alternating rep, providing audiences the opportunity to see actors performing in a variety of roles. In 1984, Iowa Summer Rep presented its first single-playwright season, offering a unique focus in American summer theater. In 2000, Summer Rep also became an Actors' Equity Company, elevating its status as a professional theater company.
Between 2008 and 2014 Summer Rep was disrupted or cancelled three times because of flooding. Financial pressures accompanied these events, and the final performance of Summer Rep was presented in 2017. Summer Partnership in the Arts is forever indebted to those artists and audiences who made Summer Rep what it was – a special place where imagination and creativity took center stage.