Stoughton Opera House in Stoughton
Updated: 10/21/19 7:53pm
10/21 Wisconsin Brass Quintet
10/23-24 Richard Thompson, Eliza Gilkyson
10/25 Pokey LaFarge (Solo)
10/26 Gina Chavez
10/28 Kangwoo Jin (Piano)
11/1 Suzy Bogguss
11/2-3 Rhiannon Giddens, Francesco Turrisi
11/4 Wingra Wind Quintet
11/7 Livingston Taylor
11/8 Jena Friedman
11/9 The Flatlanders
11/11 The Hunt Quartet (3pm)
11/11 Che Apalache
11/14 Tommy Castro & Tinsley Ellis
11/15-16 Steve Earle (Solo)
11/22 On A Winter’s Night
12/6 Joan Shelley, Daughter of Swords
12/7 Cherish the Ladies
12/8 Stoughton Festival Choir & City Band
12/15 Christmas Silent Movies w/ Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra
1/31 Mandolin Orange
2/8 Steely Dane
The Stoughton Opera House, originally called the City Auditorium, first opened on February 22, 1901. It is one of the largest second story theaters in the Midwest. For over 50 years, there was a wide variety of cultural experiences to be enjoyed within its walls including operas, musical productions, minstrel, theater and vaudeville shows, temperance meetings, and Governor LaFollette even spoke here on several occasions. The Stoughton High School held graduation exercises here until 1938. There were Junior and Senior class plays until 1953, by which time the Opera House was painted over with a dull gray paint and extensively damaged by roof leaks and was eventually shut down. The clock tower was removed in 1961.
In the early 1980’s, a decision was made to save the building and government offices. The “Friends of’ the Opera House” was established and citizens came forward to fund and work on the restoration. A committee was also established to plan and complete the restoration of the Opera House.
The first project was to restore the clock tower, which was completed in 1988 and a likeness of it is now used as the logo for the City of Stoughton: In 1990, a fire escape was added and in 1992 air conditioning was installed. A matching grant from the Jeffries Family Foundation funded much of the restoration work. The City of Stoughton contributed to the restoration of the building’s main entrance and the addition of an elevator and restrooms in the basement.
Plaster, carpets, floor lights, dressing rooms, paint, handicapped accessibility and the latest in state-of-the-art equipment combine to make the Stoughton Opera House a wonderful mixture of Victorian and modern elements. The “crown jewel” of Stoughton has been restored and enhanced and is lovelier than ever.