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Shelbyville Arts: Community Theatre, Arts Fest, and More

Shelbyville, Indiana, is a small town about an hour southeast of Indiana capital Indianapolis. The Shelbyville arts scene may not be as widely known as Indianapolis art, but for such a small town, it has a huge creative presence. The natural muse of the Indiana landscape combined with the general solitude of the place causes Shelbyville residents to flourish when it comes to creating works of art, be it on the stage or on the canvas.

Video of live music in Shelbyville, Indiana
Performing arts in Shelbyville are a huge draw for residents and visitors alike. Though it may not be up to the same world renowned pedigree that Indianapolis performing arts have attained, the historic theatre and the popular drama troupe in Shelbyville provide lasting entertainment for Shelbyville kids and adults alike.
Perhaps the most famous performing arts theatre in Shelbyville is the Strand Theatre, a historic building that has been part of downtown Shelbyville since 1916. This Shelbyville attraction plays host to a wide variety of Shelbyville events, including movies, Indianapolis music events, productions by the Shelby County Players, and book readings. The theatre’s versatile space makes it an ideal location for any Shelbyville arts production.

Video of the Shelbyville High School jazz band at the Strand Theatre in Shelbyville, Indiana
Since 1988, the Shelby County Players have been bringing quality stage productions to venues around Shelbyville. Prior to 1992, the acting troupe didn’t have an official building, so they performed at dinner theatres, Shelbyville restaurants, and even high school auditoriums. Eventually, the acting company took control of an old church in downtown Shelbyville, and the town had a headquarters for its finest theatre troupe.
Today, the Shelby County Players perform five or six plays each year; a Shelby County Players play is an exciting thing to do in Shelbyville. Throughout the years, the Shelby County Players have performed such classics as Steel Magnolias, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Peter Pan, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and many others. Bringing great acclaim to the Shelbyville art community, the Shelby County Players have been going strong for over twenty years.

Every year in October, artists and art lovers from around Central Indiana congregate in Shelbyville to participate in the annual Shelby County Arts Fest. Sponsored by the Indiana Arts Commission and several other Shelbyville businesses and organizations, the Arts Fest allows curious spectators to watch the creation of a painting, from inception to completion.
Other attractions at this Shelbyville event include food and craft vendors, a tour of the architectural treasures of downtown Shelbyville, a storytelling hour at the Shelbyville Public Library, free live music at The Strand Theatre, and a complimentary play by the Shelby County Players. The whole town comes alive during the Shelby County Arts Fest, and it’d be a shame to miss it.

And, if you get bored with the Shelbyville arts community, all the major players in Indianapolis art are just an hour away by car. Take in the beauty of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, tour the Indianapolis Artsgarden, catch a play at Hilbert Circle Theatre, listen to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra perform one of the many masterpieces in their repertoire; the world of Indianapolis art is at your fingertips in Shelbyville.