Mission & History
"To provide a high-quality and dynamic community program of live theater, education and events for residents of and visitors to the Tri-State Area."
Bell Tower Theater Statement of Purpose
The Purpose of the Bell Tower Theater is:
The History of the Bell Tower Theater
The Bell Tower Theater opened its doors in 2003 with Oz, a musical based on L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz. But the theater took shape long before that. In November of 1930, the Sisters of the House of the Good Shepherd, who operated Mt. St. Rose School where Fountain Park now sits, completed the building of the L-shaped chapel. The building also included a 300-seat theater in the basement.
Throughout the years, the basement theater fell into neglect and became unusable. The chapel continuously changed ownership, from the Good Shepherd Sisters to the Dominican Fathers, who used it as a seminary, to Wahlert High School, who used it as housing for clergy teachers, and then to Calvary Baptist Church in 1983. Finally, in 2001 the investment group Fountain Park, LLC bought the property and began renovating it into what it is today: Fountain Park Business and Creative Arts Center. The complex also houses a school of music and over forty businesses that range from a dental practice to the Dubuque Arts Council.
Since that first production in 2003, the Bell Tower Theater has presented more plays and musicals than any other theater in the area. We are proud to have presented the area premieres of plays like Sex Please, We're Sixty; Nana's Naughty Knickers and Spreading It Around and musicals like Nunsensations, Beehive and Assisted Living: The Musical. We have produced the world premiere productions of Robert Lynn's With Friends Like These and Behold My Shorts by Robert Byrne both Dubuque playwrights. In addition we have produced the world premieres of L'il Miss Fancy Pants; All Bark, No Bite; and Guess Who's Coming to Christmas and the US premiere of Buying the Moose. See the full list of past productions.
In addition to producing five plays and musicals each year, the Bell Tower Theater also runs an award-winning Youth Program. Started in 2005 our youth program includes Kids Take the Stage, youth theater classes for kids in pre-school through 8th grade, and our Free Summer Musical Program, which produces two full-scale musicals each year--one for kids ages 7 to 16 and one for high school students. Each year we touch the lives of more than 1000 kids. Learn more about our youth programs.
The 2019 season marks 17 for us, and we are looking forward to many, many more.