The History of Our Theatre in Waterloo


WCP is proud to have served the entire Cedar Valley and beyond for over 90 years. We were organized in 1916 by the Waterloo Drama League for the purpose of producing amateur theatre. You don't have to be a member to volunteer. Any person of any background can and has been a volunteer of our organization. Over 800 people volunteer each year for eleven productions. Approximately 30,000 patrons see our productions each year. Almost one-half million children have seen our shows since 1982. These successes might be attributed to the fact that we are something for everyone. WCP and BHCT is your neighbor.....we are your community.



2014 Charles Stilwill, WCP artistic director retires after serving WCP/BHCT for nearly 45 years. An annual scholarship is named in his honor.
2011 The Board of Directors creates a succession plan and plans a revised overall staffing structure. The company's first executive director is hired.


BHCT wins award. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day received the first alternate award, among a field of 10 theatres, at the Iowa Community Theatre Festival on March 4, 2001.
1999 Waterloo Centre for the Arts offically commissioned.
1996 WCP/BHCT receives special appreciation award from the City of Waterloo in honor of "Valuable & Dedicated Service to the Community."
1995 BHCT class enrollment reaches the 400 student mark.
1994 BHCT membership grows to 1220 public season members. School season membership grows to 1240.
1993 WCP membership hits 2700 with an attendance over 20,000 for the season. WCP receives the Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau "Attraction of the Year" award for their BHCT program.
1991 WCP/BHCT receives the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce "Organization of the Year/Pride of the Cedar Valley" award.
1990 BHCT school group program is formed to bring area students to the Hope C. Martin Theatre for performances. During the first year, 860 school season tickets are purchased by area schools.
1985 WCP/BHCT receives a major gift from Lowell Walker -- the Walker Building located at the corner of Commercial and Second St., across from the Hope C. Martin Theatre.
1983 WCP receives the State of Iowa "Distinguished Service Award."
1982 The Black Hawk Children's Theatre (BHCT) becomes a part of WCP with 1240 people participating as season members.
1981 WCP establishes an endowment fund.
1978 WCP completes 106 performaces of nine shows. Full-time staff grows to seven individuals.
1976 WCP purchases building for costume rental shop and storage facility for costumes, props, and sets.
1971 Membership grows to 1100. Chuck Stilwill is hired as a full-time director and WCP does 84 performances of five shows.
1965 WCP moves to the new Hope C. Martin Theatre; season ticket membership jumps to 680.
1961 "Theatre in Your Lap" is WCP's first permanent home in the furnace room of the old Recreation Center.
1952 Membership stands at 81 season ticket holders.
1943 The war years bring their own challenges: scarcity of male actors and backstage workers.
1939 Don Ames, drama coach at West High, with Russell Lamson
1916 Waterloo Community Drama League is organized by Miriam Marsh. Carl Glick is hired as Director for the first and only community theatre in Iowa. A converted church at the corner of 5th and Jefferson houses the group. The first play presented in October was A Woman's Way.