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Our History

       River Valley Players is a non-profit organization dedicated to the performing arts. We began as a fund-raising project for Henry’s Bicentennial celebration. It sparked an interest in Community Theater which took RVP from the dream of a few to the lively group that it is today. Since its humble beginnings, RVP has mounted a major musical each spring and various projects in the summer and fall (usually a smaller scale musical, comedy, or drama). We have used the talents of people from. Marshall, Putnam, Bureau, Stark, Peoria, LaSalle, Woodford, McLean, Livingston, and Macon Counties, to stage a broad range of shows: everything from the traditional musical like The Sound of Music to the unusual The Robber Bridegroom. We have transformed our stage at St. John's Community Center into a teenager’s house for Bye, Bye Birdie, an English court for old English Madrigals, a nightclub for Forever Plaid, a forest for Into the Woods, and even a cruise ship for Anything Goes! and Meshuggah Nuns.

       Throughout our history, River Valley Players has frequently been affiliated with the Sun Foundation and grants awarded to host theater workshops for children. We have also awarded grants for our Youth in Community Theater Program from the Illinois Arts Council. We have sponsored adult theater workshops, children’s theater and numerous community projects in the area such as a singing troupe to perform at many community events and a musical revue performed riverside to coincide with the expedition of the floating State of Illinois Museum. These projects have helped raise money for workshops community celebrations, historical walks, area schools, and St. John's. Many RVP members have been involved in the community church ecumenical choirs, also. We actively loan costumes, equipment, and technical expertise (lighting, sound, musical direction, choreography) to surrounding grade schools, high schools, community theaters, and county historical societies. River Valley Players was instrumental in the formation of the Becky Brant Memorial Scholarship which provides scholarships for Henry students to attend summer music camps and is still an active contributor. (Becky Brant was a founding member of RVP and an active supporter of the arts.) We also provide educational grants for students seeking careers in the performing arts or who have served our group in some capacity.

       The organization is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Most shows happen through a combination of hard work by the board and talented people in the community. The majority of the shows are presented at St. John's XXIII Center in Henry and feature a lavish meal. RVP encourages anyone interested in theater to be involved – no matter what experience is possessed. We welcome singers, actors, dancers, and technical help to participate in our next production. Without you, River Valley Players does not exist. We always welcome your help.  


Respectfully submitted by Jane Knapp 

Our 2024 Season is sponsored in part by

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Want to join Reisons and our other sponsors as supporters of the arts in our rural communities?
You can donate online or Contact Us for more information.

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