Festival Venues/Maps

ISE's great outdoor summer theatre festival has a "virtual" festival grounds which encompasses various venues in various "satellite" locations all across the Metro, with our "Mainstage" location (the primary venue for our FREE shows) being centrally located in the heart of downtown Des Moines on the sparkling Des Moines Riverwalk.

While our venues may change slightly from year to year, below you will find a breakout description as well as Maps which will orient the reader to some of our most frequent and important venues. 




The Iowa Governo's Mansion at Historic Terrace Hill, South side terrace, garden and lawn. 

  • 2300 Grand Avenue
  • Located just west of Downtown off Grand avenue, with FREE parking available on nearby streets and lots 
  • Picnic on the lawn prior to the show, with chair seating provided during the show along with limited space for blanket seating.  
  • Restrooms will be available inside the house; use of steps required.  Handicapped restroom access in the nearby Carriage House. 
  • Limited 2015 Vendors: Choclaterie Stams with Gelato for purchase.  Otherwise, for refreshments, please feel free to bring your own picnics and wine.

FESTIVAL ALTERNATIVE MAINSTAGE:  Downtown Des Moines' Simon Estes Amphtitheatre. 

Another frequent site for ISE's FREE outdoor summer shows:

  • A European-style environment on the sparkling downtown Des Moines Riverwalk
  • -Shows take place set against the twinkling Des Moines skyline
  • -No smoking in Amphitheatre, no dogs except service dogs in Amphitheatre during show, quiet dogs may be in upper plaza area, but no dogs in any Amphitheatre areas at all if barking
  • -Audience may bring their own wine and picnics, and may picnic during the show if so desired. 
  • -VIP seating (by reservation or purchase only) includes Gold front Triangle area, Platinum private cafe tables or Platinum private Pasha tents.  VIP seating sold through Midwestix.com
  • -Exclusive limited selection of vendors that relate to the play's theme
  • -Upon advance reservation, hard of hearing assistance devices available
  • -Ample free parking in close-by city lots after 5
  • -In the heart of the East Village, very near restaurants, cafes and shopping: make a day of it!
  • HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE but front seating area requires navigation of a steep slope
  • Some limited golf cart availability to assist handicapped patrons
  • RAIN:  Indoor picnic-friendly Rain site sometimes provided off site, plus see schedule for Rain Dates!
  • MAP to the Amphitheater


171.jpgFESTIVAL GARDEN STAGE:  Historic Rollins Mansion, overlooking downtown Des Moines

Primary site for ISE's TICKETED outdoor summer shows, as applicable.

  • Historic Rollins Mansion is a sprawling, elegant Tudor-style historic structure made of beams imported from an Inn in England, under which according to legend, Shakespeare himself is said to have performed
  • -The formal mansion gardens are a delightful, elegant formal garden setting for shows - - -with the flavor of Old Tudor England
  • -Shows take place in the rose garden around the fountain, with seats provided - box seats provided for VIP tickets
  • -Bring your own picnics and wine along with picnic chairs or blankets for pre-show dining; lawn ticket picnics take place on the shady rear grassy lawn; OR bring your own picnics to limited VIP seating at elegant private picnic tables with chairs provided, complete with linens and flowers; VIP picnic tables are set up on private Mansion stone balcony areas, or in the Sunken Garden area, or on the View Deck.  Purchase all seating thru Midwestix.com
  • -Parking is either adjacent to the Mansion or across Fleur Drive
  • -No vendors present, may have limited wine bar service
  • Some steps required
  • RAIN:  On site indoor picnic-friendly rain site provided INSIDE the Mansion!
  • MAP to the Rollins Mansion



FESTIVAL TRAVELING STAGE:  (Shakespeare on our Lawn, Shakespeare Under the Oaks, Shakespeare on the Porch, etc)

Historic Jordan House or other area stages such as: Windsor Heights Colby Park stage, Waukee Arts stage, Ankeny Bandshell stage, or Carlisle Historic Randleman Lawn

  • Tickets, parking, vendors and indoor rain plans all determined by the Site itself: contact the site directly with any questions.
  • MAP to Jordan House



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