Carmel and Arts & Entertainment, etc. and Theater and Hamilton County and Performing Arts and Carmel Performing Arts Center and Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre and Regional News

Civic Theatre confirms plans to relocate to Carmel

November 17, 2009

Indianapolis Civic Theatre will move from the campus of Marian University to the Regional Performing Arts Center under construction in Carmel.

IBJ.com reported Sept. 11 that the theater was contemplating the move.

On Tuesday evening, the theater and Carmel Redevelopment Commission released a joint statement confirming the decision, part of a long-term deal that calls for the Civic to pay $10 million to be the center’s primary occupant. The Carmel agency is scheduled to ratify the agreement at a meeting Wednesday.

The $80 million facility will include a 1,600-seat concert hall, 500-seat main theater and 200-seat studio theater, which Civic leaders said they could use for more intimate performances.

Construction is expected to be complete in late 2010, and the Civic will stage its 2011-2012 season there beginning in September 2011. The theater, which has 14 full-time and three part-time employees, also has plans for a new Broadway concert series and expanded educational programming.

Formally called the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre of Indianapolis Inc., the Civic was founded in 1915 and has been located on the northwest side of the city since the 1970s. In 2004, it left Showalter Pavilion at the Indianapolis Museum of Art for Marian.

Civic’s leaders had hoped to build a theater of its own on Marian’s campus, but that plan never materialized. Instead, Civic made $2 million in improvements to the 400-seat theater in Marian Hall.

Its lease with Marian expires in June 2012. Civic leaders said they requested proposals from seven central Indiana organizations and government entities before striking the deal in Carmel.

“We are pleased that this area’s commitment to the arts continues to grow, and Civic Theatre is grateful to be a part of it,” board Chairman Pete Anderson said in a prepared statement. “Our theatre now enjoys stability and permanence.”

Carmel is getting a theater group with a $1.5 million budget and more than $524,000 in annual ticket sales.

“Welcoming an established, 95-year-old organization like Civic Theatre is a great jumping off point as we prepare for other performance groups to join us,” Performing Arts Center Executive Director Steven Libman said in a statement.

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Weigh in on the move at Lou Harry's A&E blog.

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