The Celebration Company challenges and entertains our audiences with classic plays, musicals, and innovative works. We seek out and nurture local talent, providing a supportive environment that fosters a love of all things theatre. We encourage and explore ideas, beliefs, and relationships in order to better understand the world we inhabit and the diverse voices that envelop us.
The Celebration Company puts on productions year-round. On "dark nights," we open the theater to present cultural events or readings of scripts in development.
The Virginia Roesch Scholarship is awarded to two young Celebration Company members each year in loving memory of Virginia Roesch, a regular patron of the Station Theatre for many years, by her family and the Celebration Company.
The Celebration Company also awards an annual scholarship to a deserving young company member in memory of our beloved friend Danny Sullivan.
“Theatre should always be a celebration” were the rousing words that inspired Rick Orr, artistic director of The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre, to purchase the Depot Theatre in Urbana and form a live theatre company dedicated to embodying that mission. Even in that inaugural season in 1973, The Celebration Company pursued cutting-edge works, from The Fantasticks to Pinter’s Old Times, and now, over forty years later, the company remains dedicated to entertaining, challenging, and inspiring audiences and training actors and technicians with year-round live theatre in the same former train station.
Although there is little left to show it, in the early part of this century the Big Four was one of Urbana's major industries, employing over four hundred people at its peak. On the land east of the theatre were a switching yard, a large roundhouse capable of servicing fifteen locomotives simultaneously, and a dozen or so machine shops to support it all.
The energy needed to run the complex of shops required a huge power plant with a smokestack 133.5 feet tall. This smokestack dominated theskyline of Urbana until it was felled in 1959.
The advent of multilane, highspeed highways in the fifties hastened the decline ofpassenger rail service. The Urbana passenger station was closed in 1956, the same year work began on Interstate 74. The last passenger train stopped at the Station on October 14, 1957.
The Celebration Company maintains ownership of the building and over the years has added to the landscape to provide an attractive historical site.
The First Forty Seasons
Read the digital version online, or order a print copy of The Station Theatre: The First Forty Seasons below: