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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.

___

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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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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