1973 – 2005
Winnetka Community Theatre, successor-in-spirit to the Winnetka Drama Guild that counted the young Charlton Heston among its casts in the 1940s, mounted its first show in 1973, thanks in large part to the efforts of one man, Rolf Blank. From producing and directing to acting on the stage, Rolf provided the necessary spark, energy, and outstanding leadership. Doug Diggs then became the driving force behind the continued success and artistic growth of the company, which underwent a name change to Winnetka Theatre.
When the Winnetka Community House underwent a significant renovation, we had to move our productions to another space for a few seasons and were fortunate to find the excellent stage at the Des Plaines Prairie Lakes Community Center. As we developed a following in that area, we decided to relocate permanently.
Big Noise Theatre
2005 – Present
By the 2005-2006 season, we decided that a new name was in order and chose Big Noise Theatre.
The company's relationship with Winnetka and the Winnetka Community House is ongoing. We produced our first "especially for kids" show in 2005 and spent many hours at the Winnetka Community House rehearsing for the shows of both companies due to the excellent support we continue to receive from the Winnetka Community House staff.
Nancy Flaster served as the company's Artistic Director for many years and provided the leadership that encouraged us to aspire to even greater heights as we managed our winter weekend "Especially For Kids" shows under the Winnetka Theatre name at the Winnetka Community House and our 3-show season in Des Plaines under the Big Noise Theatre name.
Remarkable among area theatres, Winnetka Theatre/Big Noise Theatre remains an independent entity, not affiliated or supported by any Park District. It is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Though now competing for an audience with TV, movies, and surfing the Web, we still firmly believe in the importance of live theatre, not only as an outlet for the creative talent in the community, but as an artistic enterprise capable of entertaining, informing, and inspiring its audience.
Why the name Big Noise?
There is a jazz composition from 1938 called "Big Noise From Winnetka". It seemed appropriate to explain where we were from and what we planned to do when we chose our new name in 2005.