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Civic Theatre confirms plans to relocate to Carmel

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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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  • Price of Progress
    I suppose this is the price of progress.

    I imagine they will continue to push using "Civic" as their name. They have dropped the "Indianapolis" part out of their name from advertising for quite a while - probably to leave their options open.

    While I think it makes sense for Civic, I am disappointed that they have chosen to move out of Indianapolis proper. I also hope they can manage the move better than some of their counterparts have in the past. I'd consider this a major move across town - and that hasn't worked so well for other groups.
  • Lucky Carmel!
    I am sure that some people will be disappointed by this news for one reason or another, but as a Carmel home owner and avid theatre-goer, I am DELIGHTED! I have seen ten shows at the Indianapolis Civic Theatre on the Marian campus over the past two years and have admired every single one of them.

    I love that Carmel will soon have two exciting theatres: the all-volunteer Carmel Community Players in its lovely new home in the Clay Terrace shopping center, and the "hybrid" (paid staff and designers, volunteer performers) Civic Theatre in the Regional Performing Arts Center.

    What will the Indianapolis Civic Theatre be called after it moves, I wonder. Will it bece the Carmel Civic Theatre? The Central Indiana Civic Theatre? The Regional Civic Theatre? The Civic Theatre of the Regional Performing Arts Center of Carmel? Or...?

    Well, whatever it will be called, I am glad to know it is coming to my neighborhood.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit

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