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Iowa Theatre

121 N. 1st Street,
Winterset, IA 50273

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Iowa Theatre Winterset Screen

The Iowa Theatre was opened as a vaudeville theatre in 1900. It later screened silent films and by 1931 was showing ‘talkies’. It had 350 seats. It was closed May 27, 2015 but reopened under new owners May 25, 2017 with John Wayne in “Stagecoach”. Following its renovation/restoration it now has 148 seats.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Gayle4U on December 29, 2013 at 9:16 am

PLEASE SAVE THE IOWA THEATER IN WINTERSET, IOWA! Find them on Facebook at Save the Iowa Theater. They have to go digital or close the doors…please donate to save this wonderful theater.

Chris1982 on September 14, 2014 at 1:36 am

It would be a real shame if the town of Winterset could not support its own Iowa Theatre. After all it is the county seat for Madison County of Bridges of Madison County fame; plus the birthplace of John Wayne is just a few blocks away. Although the theater usually presents only one film a week, it does host continuous showings of The Duke’s films during the annual John Wayne Birthday Celebration which takes place in May.

Chris1982 on December 10, 2014 at 9:32 pm

The first listing I found on the Iowa Theatre was in 1931. Prior to that movies were shown in the High School Auditorium.

Cakeight on February 15, 2015 at 12:27 am

Here are some recent photos:

WayneD8 on June 2, 2015 at 9:59 pm

The Iowa Theatre is now closed (June 2, 2015). It was closed by the owners on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. The Theatre is now for sale.

The Iowa Theatre struggled in a community of 5,000 and found it difficult to compete with numerous multiplex theatre operations located about a half hour away in Des Moines, even though their ticket and concession prices were generally half as much as in Des Moines.

A committee was formed in May of 2013 to help raise awareness and build sufficient business to justify converting to a digital projection system at a cost of $41,000, as the studios would stop distributing movies on 35mm film at the end of that year. Despite substantial efforts, business remained spotty and the Theatre was unable to convert.

They continued on by showing recently-released DVDs once a week at 7pm on Saturday until the owners (out-of-state relatives of the theatre operator) closed the theatre and put it up for sale.

Hopefully new owners will be found who can invest in restoring this wonderful theatre and return it once again to showing first-run films.

The website is presently inactive, but may return if the theatre reopens.

DavidZornig on July 29, 2015 at 8:05 am

For sale now. Copy & paste to view.

WayneD8 on August 1, 2015 at 8:56 pm

The Iowa Theatre is being purchased by a local person who has the wherewithal AND the intention to “restore, renovate, and update the facility” and to transform it “into a multi-use space that can not only screen movies digitally and in 35mm, but also become a location where educational, musical, and other programs can be offered.” Great news for this gem!

WayneD8 on May 29, 2017 at 2:44 pm

The Iowa Theater in Winterset is once again open! Local resident Marianne Fons and her daughter Rebecca spent two years rehabilitating, restoring and preserving the theater. The Iowa Theater is a 501 © 3 non-profit, multi-use performance center for the community. The Winterset Stage will also produce live performances on the Iowa Theater stage.

The first movie shown in the restored theater was John Wayne’s classic “Stagecoach” (1939) on May 25, 2017 and the official Grand Reopening celebration took place on May 28, 2017 with showings of “Field of Dreams” (1988, shot in Iowa) and “The Bridges of Madison County” (1995, filmed right in Madison County).

Trolleyguy on May 29, 2017 at 2:58 pm


WayneD8 on May 29, 2017 at 3:34 pm

The Iowa is now state-of-the-art with a new retractable screen, sound system, and digital projection system. A new, enlarged concession area with beer, wine and hard cider available. New seating accommodates 148 (81main floor and 67 in balcony). The main floor is handicap accessible.

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