Theatre celebrates twenty-five seasons

Mackenzie Freund, City Editor

For 25 years the Charleston Alley Theatre, at 718 Monroe St., has been building their stages along with their name.

Over the last 25 years, there have been plays put on from Shakespeare to plays written by Charleston residents.

Each season happens during a calendar year.

The first show happens around February or March, and the rest follow until the last show in December.

Duke Bagger, the president of the theater, said the plays lined up for this season were plays that were favorites of the remaining board members.

Bagger and his wife, Linda, chose “The Lion in Winter” as the first show of this season because it was their favorite show they performed together.

“Because that was our favorite show, we opened the 25th season with that show,” Bagger said.

Bagger said that “Dracula” was picked because it was the favorite of Tony Cox, the treasurer for the theatre.

The theatre has opened some of their shows in Mattoon before they are shown in the theatre space for the upcoming season.

Bagger said the set pieces are built by members and volunteers of the theatre, so they need to be easy to take down and put together for the traveling shows.

Many of the set pieces have been used and reused throughout the years the theatre has been open and operating.

“That window piece has been around since our first season,” Bagger said. “It will end up being used two or three times a year. We just paint it a different color.”

The theatre has had plays with a very detailed set.

The set for “Metamorphosis” involves a full pool as its set, and “Steel Magnolias” had a fully functional beauty parlor.

Bagger reflected on the sets they have built at the theatre over the years, and said “damn we’re good.”

Bagger said his favorite memories of the theatre were of the shows he has performed in with his wife, Linda.

Bagger said that during a play he shared a kiss with his wife, and some of her customers went to her after the play was over and said “does your husband know about this?”

Duke and Linda Bagger, and Larry Stephens are the last of the eight founding members still involved in the theatre.

The Charleston Alley Theatre was founded in 1991 by Tanya Wood.

Bagger said that when the theatre was bought, the members transformed the original Firestone Tire shop into the theatre today.


Mackenzie Freund can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]