Crawford County (Denison), IA Chamber of Commerce

Let Us Entertain You!

Crawford County is also home to a diverse artistic and cultural community, which is evident in its products as well as the entertainment it attracts. Named for one of Crawford County’s most famous residents, who grew up in Denison, the Donna Reed Theater for the Performing Arts was built originally as an opera house by the German Opera House Company.

Crawford County (Denison), IA Chamber of Commerce

The first performance was by the Ghost Breaker Company on May 18, 1914. The Opera House was later converted into the Ritz Movie Theater. The Donna Reed Foundation purchased the building in 1988 and saved it from demolition, and in 1995 completed the first phase of restoration with the help of thousands of volunteers. The theater seats 550 and offers film, concert, and theatrical presentations.

The Donna Reed Foundation and the Donna Reed Festival were founded in the late 1980s to honor the memory of the Denison native and award-winning actress. The Donna Reed Festival is known for its outstanding performances and educational workshops, and offers people of all ages a chance to learn from the pros about the real world of television, movies, and theater.

The Fine Arts Center, located at the Denison High School, is a 700-seat arts center that has become the home of many school and community performances. The Crawford County Arts Council brings in performances from various fields frequently. The Donna Reed Festival National Scholarship Final Competition is performed here annually the third Saturday in June.


Crawford County (Denison), IA Chamber of Commerce

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