Cotton – Regent – Oster Regent Theatre
As the railroad spread through the nation to Iowa, people in Cedar Falls were anxious to be part of the traveling theatre audience. Building a theatrical performance hall had been a dream for years, of both Frank Cotton and the local community. In 1910, the dream became a reality when the Cotton Theatre opened its doors. The first show was produced in June of 1910 and starred Mae Robson in The Rejuvenation of Aunt Mary. The theatre was sold and changed names to the Isis Theatre and consequently sold several more times. With the advent of movies, live performance was struggling. The theatre changed its name in 1918 to the Regent Theatre. Merle Blair bought the theatre in 1921 and promoted movies through a variety of innovative ideas. Many residents remember the days of bicycles, nylons and various prizes being given away on the Regent stage. Gene Blair managed the theatre for many years and in 1991 the Blair Family and the Beck Trust gifted the building to the Cedar Falls Community Theatre. The CFCT board, and community as a whole, raised and spent $1.2 million to restore the building. The fund raising effort was lead by long time resident and businessman – Iver Christoffersen, and former local student, resident and actress- Annabeth Gish. In June of 1994 the name was changed to the Oster Regent Theatre.
Photo Gallery of the Theatre
Cedar Falls Community Theatre
The Cedar Falls Community Theatre (CFCT) was organized in 1978, with the strong support of the Cedar Falls Recreation Department and a dedicated handful of community members. The CFCT started by producing two plays per year on the Holmes Junior High School stage. After 16 years the theatre group moved to the Regent Theatre building. The CFCT is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that currently utilizes 2 1/2 employees, 470 volunteers, a CFCT 18 member board and an APPLAUD (friends group) 20 member board to run its operation year round.