Elgin Summer Theatre History
Elgin Summer Theatre began life as the Summer Youth Musical in 1973 with a production of L’il Abner and for many years the program presented up to three productions each summer on The Hemmens’ stage.
After its 1995 production of Anything Goes, the program was cancelled as management goals shifted and much needed facility improvements required use of the summer months for construction. Following another management change in 2005, discussions of bringing back summer theatre began in earnest amongst Hemmens’ staff, many of whom began their careers with EST, and in 2008 those talks became reality with HAiR, EST’s first production in 13 years.
Since its resurrection, EST is once again building a reputation for the quality of its productions as well as the positive experience it offers its participants. In fact, in each of the four productions presented since 2008, there have been young actors performing with a parent who was involved in EST before the 12-year hiatus.
1973 L’il Abner
1987 Grease, Kiss Me Kate
2013 Jesus Christ Superstar