Live Theatre Thrives in Peoria
Community theatre in the Peoria area has been a vital part of the performing arts locally for decades. The oldest downstate theatre in Illinois, Peoria Players, celebrated its 100th season in 2019. And Corn Stock Theatre, the area’s only in-the-round theatre, has been presenting shows for over 65 years. Newer to the scene at 27 years old is Eastlight Theatre. And the semi-professional theatre, Barn III, opened initially 45 years ago, and has undergone two newer versions of itself with the latest one opening in 2019. The barn was heavily damaged by a tornado in 2015.
All have been hard hit by the COVID pandemic and the resulting limitations for events, but are gearing up to return in 2021 if possible. Many have produced video live streaming shows with smaller casts to keep their audiences entertained. But they all long to be able to get back to business as usual and perform again before a live audience.
Peoria Players, Corn Stock and the Barn III have hosted fundraisers to supplement their revenue during the pandemic. Eastlight Theatre presented an outdoor production of “Something Rotten” in June of 2020 at the East Peoria Farm Park, but was not able to produce any other live shows throughout the remainder of 2020.
Corn Stock Theatre has announced that they will not offer the 2021 season in their outdoor tent. Last year’s season was postponed to 2021. There’s no determination at this time if the shows originally planned for 2020 will be produced now in 2022.