The Indianapolis Civic Theatre, which was once linked onto Marian Hall at Marian University, has now moved its location to Carmel, Indiana and is now known as the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre. Questions are beginning to rise as to why the location has changed and how will Marian University occupy the empty theater left behind.
Back in 2004, Marian University welcomed The Indianapolis Civic Theatre to its campus bringing in many visitors and lovers of the arts. This is the Civic Theatre’s third location change; before Marian University, its original home was at the Indianapolis Museum of Art during 1973 to 2004.
“The Indianapolis Civic Theatre moved for many reasons,” said Deborah Lawrence, Vice President for Administration and General Counsel. “Among them was the need for more space for performances, rehearsals and educational programs, as well as the desire for more amenities for patrons, including reception and entertainment spaces and parking.”
Marian University’s partnership with the Indianapolis Civic Theatre brought in thousands of patrons. Lawrence feels that Marian University has lost a vital connection to the larger Indianapolis community and a cultural resource for the students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
The movement has caused fury and controversy from those who were a part of the Indianapolis Civic Theatre. With feelings of abandonment and disagreement of moving away from Marion County, the Civic Theatre lost 10 percent of donors and subscribers.
Bob Sobera, artistic director, and Cheri Dick, executive director, signed a 100 year lease at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre. They plan to reach to different audiences and provide various classes in the arts.
“We will use the rest of this academic year to assess the needs of the university for the now renamed Marian University Theatre,” said Lawrence. “Many academic departments, including the theater and music programs, would like to be able to use that space more frequently. Once we have determined the needs of the Marian community, we will reach out to the local arts community to offer this venue to them for performances.”
With already being approached by small art groups, Marian hopes to offer a wide range of enriching performances to the Indianapolis community, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni. They don’t plan to have a resident company like Civic Theatre occupy the building, which should eliminate challenges of scheduling and hopes to uphold a strong community connection.
*Article was written for Marian University's The Knight Times and published in the fall semester of 2011.