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Depot Theater Company

Depot Theater Company
Depot Theater Company

Depot Theater Company Celebrates 30 Seasons of Live Theater


By Mark Vierthaler


Over 30 years ago, a ragtag group of performers from the Boot Hill Museum’s Long Branch Variety Show decided it was finally time to do something with all the talent in the Dodge City area. While the cast members of the variety show acknowledged the quality and entertainment level of the variety show, they began to realize that much more could be done.


So, in 1983, these cast mates formed a loose alliance and took advantage of the vacant Old House Saloon located on the east end of the Boot Hill Museum complex. For the first few productions, there was no official structure. Shortly thereafter, however, as the popularity of the shows outside the Variety Show began to grow, the Boot Hill Repertory Company began.

The company offered up show after show in the tiny cracker box of a theater on the museum campus for 13 years, before they shuttered the doors in 1996. The company then spent some time producing shows at the Dodge City Community College Little Theater while their new space along Wyatt Earp Boulevard was converted into a theater.

The Homestead Theater, located at 201 E. Wyatt Earp Blvd. then housed the Boot Hill Repertory Company until 2004 when the company officially opened the Depot Theater, located in the historic Santa Fe train depot. The company christened its state-of-the-art theater with the Stephen Sondheim show Anyone Can Whistle, and the company officially changed its name to the Depot Theater Company.

In the past three decades the company has produced 120 “main stage” productions, along with countless smaller productions including cabarets, event hosting, and sidetrack productions.

““It’s been so exciting to watch us grow as a theater community,” said director of operations Connie Penick. “We have some outstanding talent here in Dodge City.”

The People Behind the Shows

Yet, behind all the numbers, Penick stresses that the real story of the theater lies in the people who helped found the company. And those who continue to put their time and energy into its continued success.

“We always like to say that we’re a community theater with professional shows,” Penick said.

No one who acts in the Depot’s shows is a professional actor, but rather they are volunteers from across the western Kansas area. They all have day jobs, and then spend their extra time down at the theater, investing thousands of hours to make each production happen.

Penick sat down this past year and put together the average amount of volunteer hours it takes to make a show work at the theater. Between actors, directors, set builders, set designers, set painters and dressers, tech crew, and guild and kitchen volunteers, the average show takes 2,100 hours before the curtain even rises on opening night.
  • Depot Theater Company
  • Depot Theater Company

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Contact Information

Bus Tours Magazine
9698 W. Judson Road
Polo, IL 61064
Phone: (815) 946-2341
Fax: (815) 946-2347