About the Elgin Theatre

An Introduction

Elgin Theatre Company (ETC), known until July 1, 2005, as the Elgin Community Theatre, was founded in the spring of 1952 as an evening adult education class at Elgin Community College (ECC). Its first production was The Male Animal on April 4th and 5th, 1952, and its first full season of plays started that fall. For over 70 seasons, ETC has continuously produced high quality adult entertainment for Elgin Illinois and the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

From its founding until the late 1960’s, ETC was supported by and closely associated with ECC, but with its own governing body. Later it became a fully independent group. ETC was incorporated as a tax exempt, not for profit corporation, in 1970. Since its first production, ETC has been financially self supporting.  ETC gratefully accepts grants and donations from both individuals and private and public organizations.

We focus on two goals:

  • production of high quality plays
  • education in the theater arts

ETC draws actors, singers, dancers, carpenters, and a host of others from Elgin, nearby communities, and from as far away as Chicago. It draws its audience from the same area with the majority living in and around Elgin.

Our artistic direction has emphasized a mixture of popular musicals, comedies, dramas, and mysteries. ETC has attempted to meet a wide range of theater interests with such offerings as Bus Stop, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Cane Mutiny Court Martial, South Pacific, Dracula, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Cinderella, On Golden Pond, Steambath, The Fantasticks, Arsenic and Old Lace, Nunsense, Cabaret M*A*S*H, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, A Christmas Chaos, and Marvin’s Room.

Other high points of ETC’s history include:

  • ETC produced the Elgin Summer Youth Theatre for the City of Elgin during the 1970’s and early 1980’s .
  • ETC held numerous training classes and field trips for its members to improve their skills, both on stage and off stage.
  • ETC received numerous awards over the years. Awards have included the 2017 BroadwayWorld Chicago Award for Best Revival (resident Non-Equity) for our production of The Odd Couple by Neil Simon. It has been rated by drama critics as one of the best community theaters in the western suburbs.
  • ETC held two play writing contests for Elgin authors. Its first play writing contest in 1975 was held to celebrate the history of Elgin as part of the Bicentennial of the American Revolution.
  • ETC produced its first musical, The Fantasticks, at the end of the 1965-1966 season.
  • ETC produced Fox River Anthology in 1976 as part of the Bicentennial of the American Revolution. It was the first production of an original play.
  • ETC changed its name from Elgin Community Theatre to Elgin Theatre Company on July 1, 2005.
  • ETC creates several full length video only productions including The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde starting in 2021.
  • ETC has produce the following original plays:
    • Fox River Anthology – 1975
    • Through a Child’s Eyes – 1976
    • Fanfare – 1977
    • Christmas Spectacular – 1993
    • Shoah – Anne Frank and the Holocaust – 1995
    • A Christmas Wish – 2020
    • The Taming of the Fool – 2021
    • Pillow Fight – 2022


The Elgin Theatre Company is a member of the following organizations: