Beginnings (1952-1962)

In the early 1950s, audiences in the Twin Cities could attend touring shows, academic theaters, and shows by four theatre companies: the Old Log Theatre in Excelsior; the Edyth Bush Little Theatre and the Group Theatre in St. Paul; and the Circle Theatre, which performed in the Calhoun Beach Hotel in Minneapolis.

When the Circle Theatre closed for financial reasons, seven of its members set out toward a new goal — a theatre supported by its members. They persuaded 50 of their friends to pay $10 each for memberships that included a season ticket to three performances. They incorporated in October, 1952 and engaged artistic director Frederick Hilgendorf for the new community theatre.

On January 15, 1953, Theatre in the Round Players made its debut with “Life with Father”, performing at the YWCA at 12th and Nicollet in downtown Minneapolis. The theatre’s second “home” was a brief foray into an old loft building on lower Hennepin Avenue in 1961. The theatre became established, seasons grew, and the company’s skills were honed.


1st Season (1953)

  • Life with Father
  • Craig’s Wife
  • The Two Mrs. Carrolls

2nd Season (1953-54)

  • The Philadelphia Story
  • Light Up the Sky
  • Father of the Bride
  • Skylark
  • John Loves Mary

3rd Season (1954-55)

  • My Three Angels
  • Bell, Book and Candle
  • The Time of the Cuckoo
  • Time Out for Ginger
  • Sabrina Fair

4th Season (1955-56)

  • King of Hearts
  • I Killed the Count
  • The Tender Trap
  • Goodbye, My Fancy
  • Oh, Men! Oh, Women!

5th Season (1956-57)

  • Affairs of State
  • Bad Seed
  • Born Yesterday
  • You Can’t Take It With You
  • Anastasia

6th Season (1957-58)

  • The Fifth Season
  • The Great Sebastians
  • Come Back, Little Sheba
  • The Happy Time
  • The Reluctant Debutante

TOURING SHOW (throughout Minnesota and Madeline Island, Wisconsin)

  • The Caine Mutiny Court Martial

7th Season (1958-59)

  • Visit to a Small Planet
  • Tea and Sympathy
  • The Rose Tattoo
  • Separate Tables
  • Nude with Violin

8th Season (1959-60)

  • Third Best Sport
  • Picnic
  • The Moon Is Blue
  • Monique
  • Death of a Salesman
  • Nature’s Way

9th Season (1960-61)

  • The Man in the Dog Suit
  • Middle of the Night
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  • Amphitryon 38
  • Summer of the Seventeenth Doll
  • Tunnel of Love

10th Season (1961-62)

  • I Remember Mama
  • A View from the Bridge
  • The Desk Set
  • The Lark
  • The Dark at the Top of the Stairs
  • Invitation to a March

11th Season (1962-63)

  • Harvey
  • All the Way Home
  • Silent Night, Lonely Night
  • The Miracle Worker
  • Critics Choice
  • Summer and Smoke