Butler Community College’s Community Education will host Kansas Opera Houses and Community Events, a presentation and discussion by Jane Rhoads on Sept. 28 at 9 a.m. in the Hubbard Welcome Center in El Dorado.


Butler Community College’s Community Education will host Kansas Opera Houses and Community Events, a presentation and discussion by Jane Rhoads on Sept. 28 at 9 a.m. in the Hubbard Welcome Center in El Dorado. Members of the community are invited to attend the free program. The program is made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council.

Jane Rhoads grew up in Wichita and is a graduate of Southwestern College and Emporia State University. Jane’s love of theatre and opera houses began when, as a child, she played on the stage of the opera house built by her great-grandfather in Eldon, Iowa. She has traveled the state locating and photographing Kansas’ remaining opera houses and learning about their social and theatrical significance.

From melodrama to Shakespeare, from church socials to high school commencements, the opera houses of Kansas made significant contributions to the state’s social and cultural fabric in communities both large and small. Rhoads will discuss the history of opera houses in Kansas and how they are being used today.

Rhoads is an author and a 2009 Notable Kansas Book award winner. Her book, Kansas Opera Houses, Actors, and Community Events 1855-1925 is the result of years of travel across Kansas to research opera houses.

“I came to love opera houses when as a small child I played in the opera house built by my great-grandfather,” said Rhoads. “This eventually led to my visiting 400 Kansas communities to learn about the activities that took place in the local opera houses and to photograph the state’s remaining ones.”

Kansas Opera Houses and Community Events is part of the Kansas Humanities Council’s Kansas 150 Speakers Bureau commemorating the Kansas sesquicentennial. The special edition Speakers Bureau features presentations and discussions about Kansas and what it means to be a Kansan over time and across generations.