1955, a group of Indianapolis performers created Footlite Musicals,
Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the purpose of presenting
the best in avocational musical theatre. Between 1956 and 1974, the
group produced and rehearsed 50 musicals in a variety of high school
auditoriums and theaters throughout the Indianapolis area.
Footlite found a permanent home in 1974 when it leased the old Civic Theatre, located at 1847 North Alabama Street, and renamed it the Hedback Community Theater. In 1976, Mr. and Mrs. Phil Hedback donated the theater building and surrounding property.
Footlite Musicals is an all-volunteer organization administered by a Board of Directors and several committees with the support of a loyal membership paying nominal yearly dues. Productions are cast from open auditions, and no one in the cast or on staff is paid. The season is chosen each year by a committee assembled from our general membership.
The Hedback Theater is fortunate to have the beautiful two-manual, eleven-rank Page Theatre pipe organ, which was built in Lima, Ohio in 1925 for installation in a Fort Wayne mansion. Phil Hedback later purchased the organ and had it installed in its present location. Our organ has been renovated with the addition of six ranks, a toy chest and other interesting features. Members of The American Theatre Organ Society, who now own and maintain it as a historical instrument, play the organ before every performance.
Activity continues year-round at the theater to prepare for five musicals open to all ages. In the summer we present a youth program that encompasses ages 6 to 25. Our Children's Workshop is for elementary school children. it is a two week camp that culminates in a 70 minute musical. Our Young Artist program is designed for high school children who work on all facets of the production. They perform over two weekends in August. Our Young Adult program for college students is unique. No other community theater in Indiana caters to this age group. The members of the cast are encouraged to join Entr'Acte, a committee to train young adults in theater governance.
The Encore Association is an organization that recognizes excellence in Indianapolis community theater. It has honored the quality of Footlite’s work hundreds of times. In 1991, Footlite's production of “Into the Woods” received first place at the American Community Theatre Association’s national competition. It went on to win seven awards in the international competition in Toyama, Japan, thanks to the support of the Indianapolis theater community and many individual supporters.
Ticket sales represent over half of Footlite's income. Each show incurs approximately $6,000 in royalty costs and then must budget for all other production, maintenance, and administrative and building expenses. Future plans are to renovate and expand the building and grounds, create new rehearsal space and performance areas, upgrade our technical facilities and improve the overall look and usefulness of our theater. To accomplish these goals, Footlite continues its efforts in membership enrollment, volunteer recruitment and financial solicitation.
Footlite needs help of all sorts, and anyone is welcome. The varied activities call for volunteers with interests in sewing, box office, painting and set construction in addition to orchestral and performing talents. We seek your experience, your advice, your participation and your support. Click here to find out how to get involved!