Theater History

Hoyt Sherman Place Historic Theater

Des Moines Women's Club completed the theater in 1923 as a response to their growing membership. The first two decades after its completion, Hoyt Sherman Place hosted many honored speakers and performers, including Helen Keller and Anne  Sullivan, Will Rogers, John Philip Sousa, Amelia Earhart, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Grant Wood.

Today, as soon as you step foot inside Hoyt Sherman Place Theater, you can feel that something special happens here. This extraordinary space offers unparalleled acoustics for both performers and audiences, and the opulent interior packs a dramatic

visual punch. In the deep stillness of this acoustically rich space, listen closely and you will hear echoes of internationally renowned performers, legendary lecturers, top comedians, Grammy Award-winning musicians, and so much more.

The theater is large enough to create community but intimate enough to nurture personal connection. When the venue is not in use for a rehearsal or a performance, guests are invited to step inside and experience the full beauty of this vibrant space.


In 2020, the Center for Artists and Education was constructed on the north side of the theater, while preserving all historic integrity. The three-floor expansion includes backstage amenities, meeting spaces, administrative offices, and spectacular views.