Around the turn of the 20th century, Richmond was considered a good “show town.” It boasted several large theaters and its location on the rail lines made it convenient for touring performers. It was also home to Omar G. Murray, who, with his partner, Gus Sun, operated a theater chain, leasing theaters in several Midwestern cities. In 1909, he built a new theater in Richmond at 10th and Main and put his own name on it. Opened in October 1909, the Murray Theatre was the most up-to-date facility in town and attracted some of the biggest names on the vaudeville circuit. The building also housed a billiard hall in the basement, a barber shop and dry cleaner on the first floor, professional offices on the second, and apartments on the third..
In 1941 a group of local amateur actors and drama enthusiasts formed the Richmond Civic Theatre. The organization produced at least six performances a year and presented them in Goddard Auditorium on the Earlham College campus and at McGuire Memorial Hall. By the early 1950s, it had attracted large enough audiences that it needed a new venue, and the Indiana Theatre was available. Civic Theatre began leasing the Indiana in 1952, and in 1964 the group bought the building, renaming it the Silbiger Theatre in honor of its first director, Norbert Silbiger..