Riverside Center Dinner Theater and Conference Facility opened on June 18, 1998, with the theater’s inaugural performance of Oklahoma! Since then, Riverside Center has been the site for nearly 80 main-stage musical and dramatic productions, more than 120 musical adaptations of popular children’s stories in our Children’s Theatre, and innumerable wedding receptions, celebratory social gatherings, business meetings, military balls, high school proms, and special hosted events in our Conference Facility. As such, Riverside Center is positioned within the Fredericksburg and central Virginia region as a centerpiece to an already-thriving cultural community.
Built in response to the late Rollin E. Wehman’s vision for bringing professional performing arts, and especially live musical theatre, to the Fredericksburg area, Riverside Center is 36,000 square feet of dinner theatre and conference facility all rolled into one beautiful building. Specially-designed according to a multi-function concept, the two spaces are gracious and accommodating to many different purposes for both large and small gatherings of people and for many different purposes. Over 550,000 patrons have experienced the enchantment of Riverside Center since 1998.
Our theatre is a traditional proscenium stage boasting Virginia’s only dinner theatre fly loft for exquisite sets and seamless transitions between scenes. Our ever-widening reputation and recognition for production excellence has attracted performers from the Broadway stage and national-tour casts, and noted musical theatre critics have cited Riverside Center as “consistently demonstrating high-quality, professional-caliber productions” and “one of the best places to see musicals in the D.C. area.” Every week we offer both evening and matinee main-stage performances, as well as Children’s Theatre matinees on Saturdays and selected weekdays. Dinner Theatre patrons enjoy a three-course, chef-prepared meal served by our experienced staff of waiters, a service not generally found in dinner theaters elsewhere. For our Children’s Theatre, a child-friendly bag lunch precedes the performance, allowing our younger patrons a chance to experience a nutritious meal and live theatre for less than the cost of a movie with candy or popcorn. Between our fine theatre facility and a commitment to bringing the best productions of the musical stage to central Virginia, it is our aim at Riverside Center to raise the standard of dinner theatre entertainment for our patrons.
The Riverside Conference Facility has become a staple in the Fredericksburg regional events market. Noted for their attention to detail and individualized service, our event coordinators work one-on-one with every client to accommodate their special interests and requests, personally seeing each project through to the final day. Riverside’s client list includes Fortune 500 companies, state and local politicians, military and college organizations, and recognized broadcast personalities. Maintaining our commitment to the vibrancy of our community, Riverside Center contributes extensively to educational and charitable organizations, as well as to scholarships to deserving students furthering their careers in the performing arts.
Our sister organization, the Riverside Foundation for the Performing Arts, has participated in a variety of fundraising and educational activities for area service ministries since its establishment in 2007. Under major grants from PNC Bank and The Community Foundation, as well as generous contributions from the general public, the Foundation continues its history of offering annual summer performing arts camps free-of-charge to economically-disadvantaged children and youth.
As of January 2016, Riverside Center for the Performing Arts became our new identity, reflecting a focus on more than the usual dinner theatre norm. The addition of live music for our mainstage performances and the increasing caliber of productions, the existence of our Children’s Theatre and Summer Camp programs, the inclusion of special art and music events, and our theatre and event space as a resource for the area’s cultural aims all reflect a shifted identity from the “old” Riverside Dinner Theater and Conference Facility to a desired position as a mid-Atlantic destination for quality performing arts.