WFAA & the Woodstock Opera House

Children's Programs

Early WFAA members set the stage for the Opera House’s rescue—rallying support and donations—and in 1976 the Opera House restoration was completed. Today it is a historically accurate, elaborately ornamental example of steamboat gothic architecture—a restored treasure for generations to come that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. WFAA is proud to have been instrumental in this achievement and continues to donate for restoration, improvements and repair of this northern Illinois jewel.

 Examples of WFAA support of the Woodstock Opera House

  • installed four coach lights
  • renovated the women’s restroom
  • purchased draperies for all windows
  • installed balcony safety railings
  • purchased portable microphones, a digital projector and screen

Interesting Facts about the Woodstock Opera House

Built in 1890, it was designed to house several city government offices and an auditorium for performances. The fire department’s horses and wagons were stabled in what is now the workshop area at the rear of the building. Opera House lore has it that fire alarms occasionally went off in the middle of performances.

These legendary actors have played on its stage

1934: Orson Welles got his start here, starring in Shakespearean plays

1948 through the early 1950s, several seasons of winter stock brought Paul Newman, Geraldine Page, Shelley Berman, Tom Bosley, Betsy Palmer and Lois Nettleton to Woodstock. As members of Woodstock Players, they performed in sixteen plays in sixteen weeks each season.

Photo Credit
EarlRShumaker, “Opera House Woodstock, IL July 13, 2014”