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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
RIEDEL, Susan. (Davenport, IA- ). Riedel, a graduate of CLARKE COLLEGE and a full-time speecch and drama teacher at STEPHEN HEMPSTEAD HIGH SCHOOL, was hired as the Fine Arts Supervisor for the Department of Recreation in 1965. (1) Riedel led the successful fund-raising campaign for the renovation of BARN (THE), revitalized the Arts Council with Ruth NASH, and started the BARN COMMUNITY THEATER. She served as the artistic director of the Barn Community Theater since 1972 and managed the GRAND OPERA HOUSE beginning in 1986. She has been credited with being one of the most influential people in northeastern Iowa for bringing filmmakers to Iowa.

In 1981 Riedel worked on the film Take This Job and Shove It in the areas of location casting, casting, supervision of extras, and assistant to the directors. In 1983 three episodes of the television program Mississippi were filmed in Dubuque. Riedel's duties included location casting, casting of extras, selection of filming locations and assistant to the director. She was an assistant director for Life Flight, a film produced in Des Moines in 1986, and three Mayhew Production commercials filmed for FDL FOODS INC. in 1987. Riedel was the casting director and coordinator for the "last shot" in the 1988 filming of Field of Dreams and was the location scout for a Levi commercial filmed in Dubuque the same year.

To encourage film making in Iowa, Riedel was a member of the Iowa Film Advisory Board of the Iowa Department of Economic Development and chaired the DUBUQUE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Film Advisory Board and served on the Travel Writers, Tour Shows, and the Business Development committees. Riedel served as the City of Dubuque, fine arts supervisor from 1968-74. (1)

In 1983 Riedel received the Dubuque Fine Arts Society Award for "outstanding contributions to the arts." The following year she received the Voice of Democracy Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Riedel was recipient of the Woman of Achievement Award from the YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.W.C.A.) in the area of cultural and performing arts (1987), and J. C. Penney Golden Rule Award for volunteer services (1988). In 1989 the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce presented her with its Service Award for "devoted and valuable service on the Film Bureau."

Beginning in 2014 she was the Bell Tower Theater manager and artistic director.



1. Cooper, Brian. "Susan J. Riedel; Biographical Information," Telegraph Herald, August 10, 2003, Online: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-11098591.html

Huber, Daniel. "The Mother of the Barn," Julien's Journal, September 1990 p. 29