Beckmann Theatre folds

January 23, 2009
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The Beckmann Theatre--named for Robert D. Beckmann Jr., first president of the Arts Council of Indianapolis--announced today that it will cease operations.

"Given the current economic climate and competition for entertainment dollars and sponsorships, the Beckmann Theatre has made the painful decision to cease operations," the company announced in a press release.


You should be forgiven if you aren't familiar with the company. Founded in 2002, the professional theater never offered a full season. Its ad hoc productions included David Mamet's "American Buffalo" at the Phoenix Theatre and a 2005 site-specific presentation of David Schanker’s “Asylum.” It also hosted a number of reading of Schanker's in-development play play about the Tony Kiritsis Monument Circle hostage incident.


The company stated that, after paying its bills, leftover funds will be donated to the Beckmann Emerging Artist Fund at the Arts Council of Indianapolis.


My only experience with the Beckmann was attending one of its benefit cabaret productions. Have you see any? Your thoughts?

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  • Too bad you missed Asylum. Good script by David Schanker, good production crew and good cast, if I do say so myself, since I was in it. Presented in 3/4 round very close to the actors and not a bad seat in the house. Well received by audiences, some of whom had connections to the old Central State Hospital, where the play's events took place and where the play was staged (in the old laundry building).
  • They had two benefit cabaret productions in 2006 & 2007- those were the last 2 productions I know of them putting on. I was under the impression that they were fundraisers for the theatre- both well attended and the performers volunteered their talents. Not sure what happened with the funds from those benefits, but perhaps they were extremely behind in their bills.
  • This is a damn shame and a disservice to the memory of Bob Beckmann. There was some really good press during Asylum, and the audiences seemed very enthusiastic. The sign of a good Organization is their ability to follow-up and capitalize on success and that doesn't seem to have taken place. Not sure where the blame lies, but it seems to have been more than just the economy. Glad to hear that the Beckmann name has another avenue - through the Arts Council.
  • Bob Beckmann should have something else of quality named after him - particularly in the theatre realm. It was a pleasure and learning experience being involved with him during the days of the Coalition of Indianapolis Artists when arts organizations banded together to help create and politically push through the creation of the Arts Council of Indianapolis. Beckmann's legacy needs to be remembered.

    For a bit of photo history of some of those times and a few shots of Beckmann as hot of the Creative Affair - go to: http://web.me.com/artistdan/A_Creative_Affair/A_Creative_Affair.html
  • So sad. But I don't buy their cry of given the current economic crisis. They
    have been unmoored for a long time. Given their history of being known more
    for their fundraisers than actual production of theatre I feel the blame must be
    laid at the feet of the board and those in charge of the direction of the theatre.
    I find it curious that they are only now announcing their disolve when it has been
    common knowledge that they had made the decision months ago. Bob deserves
    better.

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