The Northwest Arkansas Gridiron was established 40 years ago in the tradition of the Washington Gridiron Club, providing performances that satirize the politics and cultural trends of the day.
It has nothing to do with football, save that the writers occasionally find ample reason to rib the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The NWA Gridiron is written, directed and performed by regional journalists each October, although the emcee is usually a well known civic, political or community leader. The show began in 1978 and continued for 13 seasons, using a variety of venues such as the Rodeo Community Center and the Arts Center of the Ozarks, both in Springdale.
It was on hiatus for the next 13 seasons and returned in 2004 with the help of members of the American Association of University Women. Since then, the show has been performed early each October at the Victory Theater in downtown Rogers.
Politicians from local mayors to state representatives, senators, governors and even a president-in-the-making have attended the show to watch themselves be lampooned and skewered. And that’s half the fun for the audience.
About the Victory Theater
The Victory Theater was built in 1927 and designed by local architect A.O. Clark. The theater served as a community gathering place and was renovated several times as a movie and vaudeville theater before closing its doors in the early 1970s. Among the many performers who graced its stage was Will Rogers, whose wife was from the town of Rogers.
In 2008, generous help from the Wal-Mart Foundation and contributions from donors allowed the city of Rogers to purchase the Victory Theater and make it a home for community theater, now overseen by the Arkansas Public Theatre, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.