Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cincinnati passes motion to restore Ensemble funding

Cincinnati City Council has passed a motion that would restore more than $176,000 in funding to the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (ETC) to aid in their Over-the-Rhine expansion.

The funding is the remainder of money originally granted in March 2004 as part of a $50,000 capital arts grant and a $200,000 challenge grant that was contingent on ETC's expansion in the neighborhood, as the City of Covington had been working to lure the theatre out of the declining area.

Because the money had not been spent, the contract expired and the City took back the funding in June.

Earlier this year, ETC embarked on a $6.5 million capital campaign to finance the renovations of its current space at 1127 Vine Street and a newly-acquired 15,000-square-foot space at 1117 Vine Street.

Improvements will include a renovated performance space and seating, an outside courtyard, an on-site scene shop, new office space, a renovated box office and lobby space, and private meeting rooms.

GBBN Architects has been hired to do the renovation, which is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2010.

Councilmember Roxanne Qualls introduced the motion.

"The Ensemble Theatre has remained committed to bringing world and regional premiers to Over-the-Rhine for more than twenty years, despite attempts to lure the theatre to locations outside the city," says Qualls in a media release. "With the expansion plans in place, a surge in attendance over the previous year, and the revitalization of Over-the-Rhine, now is the perfect time to move forward with the expansion."

The Ensemble Theatre opened in 1988 with 134 seats and expanded to 202 seats in 1993.