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An Iowa City icon

BY DI STAFF | 2015 EDITION

Whether you want to see a concert, a play, or even a podcast recorded right in front of you, there is one place that offers any of those three, and much more.

The Englert Theater, 221 E. Washington St., which was established in 1912, first started out as a theater that showed plays and even some films. Since then, the theater has gone through several changes.

It caught fire in the 1920s, and was rebuilt in a new style to try and compete with the larger theaters that were popping up across the country. In the 1980s, the Englert became a two-screen cinema.

In 1999, the doors of the Englert closed. The future of the beloved theater was disputed for five years. A bar owner bought the theater in hopes to turn it into a nightclub. Iowa Citians, however, began a “Save the Englert” campaign to help raise the funds to renovate the theater.

The doors of the Englert opened its doors again in 2004.

Since then, the Englert has become a main venue for performances in Iowa City.

Nick Offerman and Chicago’s improv group Second City — which was a starter for Chris Farley, Joan Rivers, and Steve Carrell — have recently performed at the theater. Ira Glass of This America Life and the ever-quirky Welcome to Night Vale have also recorded podcasts there.

In addition, the theater takes part in one of Iowa City’s major festivals, Mission Creek Festival. Real Estate, Shovels & Rope, Father John Misty were several bands who performed at the Englert this past spring.


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