Humanities & Cultural
At the age of 15, Cynthia Smyth-Wartzok first saw Warren’s abandoned and dilapidated Pulse Opera House building. She didn’t see a blight on the downtown, but envisioned a thriving and exciting theater that could bring the arts back to the town. Today, with 130 productions directed, the vision Smyth-Wartzok had all those years ago has been made real.
She graduated from IPFW and earned a Master’s degree in Theater from Indiana University, with her master’s thesis based on the history of the Pulse Opera House from 1884 to 1920. After involvement with numerous theater productions in the Fort Wayne area, Smyth-Wartzok founded the Warren Theatre Guild in 1986 and began restoration of the Pulse. In addition to bringing the live theater experience to population of Warren, Huntington County and beyond, she has made a priority of exposing young people to live theatre, many of them for the first time.
By offering two productions a year to area schools in Huntington and Wells counties, and with a program to host inner city students, Smyth-Wartzok and the Pulse have introduced live productions to more than 10,000 young people.
She was Indiana Community Theatre League president from 2005-09, and was presented with the Indiana Community Theatre Association “Theatre Person of the Year” in 2015. Smyth-Wartzok and the Pulse have twice been invited to represent the United States in the International Theatre Festival in Germany in 2001 and 2004. In addition, se has served as executive director of the Reading Radio Service that serves the blind. She was selected as one of the NBC33 Women of Northeast Indiana and was executive assistant at the Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne. She received Warren’s Samuel Jones Pioneer Award in 2006.