Marion Civic Theatre: The Tradition Continues

(Originally posted on’s website on December 11, 2015)

In 1951, the Marion Civic Theatre opened its doors to the community.  Now, 64 years later, the theatre is working on their newest production, “Fruitcakes.”

Marion Civic Theatre is also known as the James Dean Memorial Theatre.  Inside its lobby, lots of pictures and memories can be found of the late Grant County native and actor.

Diana Gardner, a life-long Marion resident, works as the media library specialist at Marion High School.  But most people recognize her on the stage rather than in the office.

Gardner performed in her first show “West Side Story” at the Marion Civic Theatre in 1975, when she was 19 years old.  Over the years she continues to perform at the theatre.  She’s been in shows such as “Godspell”, “The King and I” and “Into the Woods” which she acted alongside her daughter, Reese.

One reason Gardner loves performing at Marion Civic Theatre is all of the friendships she has made over the years.

“It’s really extraordinary that we still stayed in spite of no social media,” Gardner says. “So you had to long distance phone call or write letters.  And so when I think about it, that’s even more impressive.”

The theatre is getting ready for their second weekend of their Christmas show “Fruitcakes.”  Director Bryan Sprayue encourages everyone to attend the show because it is “sure to make everyone laugh.”

The show runs Friday and Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.  Marion Civic Theatre is located in downtown Marion off of Washington Street.


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