This is in response to a recent news story aired on KTVO-TV. The story was titled “Performing Arts coming back to Ottumwa.” I believe, had KTVO put some thought and a little investigation into their story, they would have realized that it was an erroneous title to the story. The performing arts have been and are still very much alive in Ottumwa and southeast Iowa. The most recent and perhaps one of the best examples would be the Ottumwa Community Players’ production of “The Producers.” From a bunch of very talented, local community volunteers came a show that could be considered right up there with any professional touring production coming through Iowa. Director Jeff Leonard and the cast and crew should be very proud of what they have accomplished.
OCP is not the only example of the performing arts thriving in Ottumwa. There are several groups and organizations including but not limited to the IHCC theater, Ottumwa Community Children’s Playhouse and OHS theater that put on productions throughout the year. We also have several vocal and instrumental groups that perform, to the delight of many, throughout the year. If that is not enough, let’s not forget all the events, including comedy, music and theater that are brought in to the Bridge View Center. If by some crazy circumstance you cannot attend any of these events in Ottumwa, we fortunately have the arts being performed in the surrounding communities of Bloomfield, Fremont, Oskaloosa and Fairfield. Most, if not all, of these organizations and groups have been around for several years, some for more than 50 years, and most cost little to nothing to be a part of and all are reasonably priced, if not free, to attend.
To say that the arts are coming back to the area is a slap in the face to these organizations and all the parents, children, teachers, instructors and volunteers that have poured hours of time and energy into continuing the rich tradition of quality performing arts in the area. One or more of these groups can be seen performing on any given weekday or weekend throughout most of the year. More and correct coverage of these groups and organizations by our local media outlets would be a good first step in promoting the performing arts already established in southeast Iowa.