Stage 212, Inc. is the Illinois Valley's community theater. Begun in 1968 as a summer project of the Spring Valley Youth Center (located at 212 W. St. Paul Street, hence the name), the community theatre group was chartered as an independent, non-profit corporation in 1970. By 1980 Stage 212 had moved to LaSalle-Peru and evolved into a year-round operation involving participants from every age group. Since its founding the organization has mounted more than 125 major productions (including a full-scale play or musical quarterly since the summer of 1978), along with one-acts, revues and traveling shows.
Stage 212 encourages persons interested in theater, with or without previous experience, to become involved in its projects. Auditions for performing roles in each production are publicly announced. Volunteers are also welcome for construction, backstage and technical crews. All project participants become members of Stage 212. The business affairs of the corporation are supervised by a Management Board drawn from the membership.
The theater building, acquired by Stage 212 in 1996 and dedicated the following year as The Robert D. Manahan Center for the Performing Arts, is also the organization's corporate headquarters and is located at 700 First Street in La Salle, Illinois.