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The Iowa Theater


Built in approximately 1899, the building that houses the Iowa Theater was originally a one-story grocer and meat market. In 1914 the building was remodeled with a new front and a raised floor to become, as the Winterset Madisonian newspaper noted, “a first class movie show.” A place for performance as well as cinema, the paper went on to report that same year that, “The new playhouse will be open on next Thursday evening with moving pictures for the first evening’s entertainment."  A second story was added in 1928 and sound equipment was installed in 1930. The theater underwent a complete restoration from 2015-2017, when it reopened once again as a single-screen cinema with state-of-the-art digital projection and sound equipment.

The Iowa Theater is now run as a multi-use, non-profit movie theater and performance space. Audiences can catch a classic movie on Wednesday evenings during the theater's Way Back Wednesday series, or a new movie on Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sunday afternoons. There is a full concession bar featuring Iowa-grown popcorn with real butter, local beer and wine, soda, and candy. Audiences can also enjoy a curated program of outstanding, off-the-beaten path movies, foreign films, and art-house titles every third Sunday of the month at 5:30 pm through the Sunday Movie Club. Each screening is followed by a short, lively, moderated conversation about the film.

The Iowa Theater is home to The Winterset Stage, which produces several live stage performances each year. The theater is available to rent for parties, board meetings, weddings, and other special events. The theater has a total of 159 seats: 81 seats and 6 handicapped accessible spaces on the lower level and 72 seats in the balcony, as well as a stage and lobby. The Iowa's historic marquee can also be rented to convey a special message or announcement.

Category: Arts & Entertainment, Historical


121 John Wayne Dr.
Winterset, IA 50273
(515) 462-2979

The Iowa Theater photo