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The Warehouse Theatre History

By December of 1985, the drafting of a prospectus document for a major Warehouse Theatre Building Fund Project was well underway. The KVT organization was seeking to raise funds for the construction of a 150-seat theater within their current rehearsal space at One Dearborn Square in Kankakee. This three-phase plan of construction would utilize volunteer labor from members of the organization, as well as, locally licensed professionals.

In April of 1985, the Warehouse Theatre was becoming a reality with $99,000 of the $100,000 goal already raised. Including a $19,500 grant from the Illinois Arts Council, which allowed KVT to purchase a new sound system. The National Endowment for the Arts provided additional financial support.

The world of theatre opened up to 30 area children in the new Warehouse Theatre in June of 1988 as they participated in the first KVT children’s theatre workshop.  Children ages 5-12 explored the new facility, tried on costumes and make-up, learned pantomime, improvisation, and dance routines. KVT board members assisted the workshop by demonstrating how to build sets, operate lights, and audition for a production. Over the next several years, KVT would develop four more Warehouse Theatre workshops for both adults and children.

On Friday, June 24, 1988, a premiere evening opened the doors of the Warehouse Theatre to local dignitaries and community supporters who gave rave reviews of the work accomplished. The dedication of the Paula Mellott Lindberg Memorial stained-glass window, which now hangs in the foyer of the KVTA Studios, was one of the evening’s highlights. Tours were held the following Sunday, and KVT members were on hand to answer questions and explain activities in the various departments. After “living” in this warehouse for over three years, KVT’s dream of their own theater had come true.

However, by 1993, local developers proceeded to pave KVT’s small piece of theatrical paradise and put up a parking lot in its place. KVT would not have its own theater again until the Black Box Theatre opened at the KVTA Studios in February of 2019.


1988 - 1989

E/R Emergency Room

Bullshot Crummond

The Fan Club


1989 -1990

Agnes of God

Christmas Magic

Spoon River Anthology

Androcles and the Lion


1990 - 1991

The Fantasticks

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever


1991 - 1992

Bleacher Bums

Christmas is Believing

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