The Ingersoll Theatre of Performing Arts: From Yesterday to Today
Founded in 1976, ITOPA is a volunteer, non-professional community theatre company that provides live entertainment in the form of music, plays, and other events. ITOPA is run by a volunteer board of directors who are selected from the membership.
In 1976, a group of people began meeting to explore the possibility of setting up a community theatre. A set of by-laws was drawn up, a name chosen, a logo designed, and ITOPA was incorporated under the Charitable Organizations Act. The first show was a children’s production called “Ready, Steady, Go”. The first adult production was “Barefoot in the Park”, directed by a professional with financial support from Theatre Ontario.
In the fall of 1980, ITOPA moved to its present location (Park Place Theatre – 88 Thames Street South) and signed a five year lease the following year. In the spring of 1983, ITOPA received a Wintario grant to cover one-third of the expenses to enlarge the stage and create workspace backstage. The production “Waiting for the Parade” won the Adjudicator’s Award at The Western Ontario Drama League Festival that year. In January 1986, a major fundraising campaign was launched for making improvements to comply with legislation regarding safety standards.
In 1991, Park Place Theatre was purchased with assistance from the Ministry of Culture and Communication. More renovations were carried out, and in 1995 a new lobby was opened.
In 2011 new seating was installed replacing the 149 original seats in the theatre to provide a more comfortable experience for our patrons at a cost of $ 30,000.
In 2012 ITOPA updated the ticket processing program to “Vendini” to improve the processing of ticket request and making ticket purchases available online at our website, https://www.itopa.ca and be able to email news to our patrons informing them of coming events.
In 2015 the Stair Lift for access from the lobby to the Theatre was replaced with a newer and more modern version, replacing the original 18-year-old unit, at a cost of $18,000.
In addition, over the past 10 years upgrades have been made to the lighting and sound systems for improved performances.
In 2017 a Hearing Assist system was installed with a cost of $2,400 for patrons that require a better experience to hear the actors during a performance.
Our most recent upgrade was the installation of a new metal roof for our more than a century old building. With the assistance of the Ingersoll Foundation, over $29,000 was raised in order to accomplish this goal, and it was completed in the summer of 2019.
With our updated website, https://www.itopa.ca, and our Facebook page, you can keep up to date on all of the wonderful things happening at your community theatre. ITOPA is always looking for fresh faces, and you can get involved by volunteering once this quarantine has been lifted. We would love to see you.
ITOPA is striving to keep providing top notch live entertainment for years to come. Thanks, and see you soon!