opened its doors in 1986 as a place to give professional artists a place to work without having to travel to Hollywood or Broadway. The theater has since become a landmark in Over-the-Rhine. Now, for the first time, Ensemble has unveiled new branding, a new website, and a refreshed exterior.
With attendance at an all-time high and after being awarded a $1.2 million grant from the state of Ohio, ETC is in the midst of a long-overdue makeover.
"We've been in the neighborhood for 26 years, I think it's time to celebrate," says D. Lynn Meyers, artistic director. "The tenacity of us staying here through times that weren't as good as they are now is something special."
With a new user-friendly website designed by LPK and a facade that is currently being painted, the goal of the rebranding and renovations is to raise visibility and mirror ETC's ambitious schedule in both building and branding. The branding has four main colors -- blue, red, green and purple. All represent the four "E's" ETC strives toward: Excite, Enliven, Enrich and Entertain.
"What we do on stage has a very eclectic feel," Meyers says. "Our branding was very typical. We wanted something more exciting and colorful, like what you see on stage."
Visibility was also a concern for ETC. Meyers says patrons have sometimes walked by the entrance. New banners outside of the entrance should alleviate confusion.
"I think a lot of people walk by and wonder what we are," Meyers says. "We want people to know we are here and want people to come in and check us out."
The grant ETC received won't be awarded until the group raises $1.2 million in matching funds. So, ETC is in the midst of kicking off its "Next Stage Capital Campaign," a $6.5 million renovation plan. Renovations will include a larger lobby, increased accessibility, a new HVAC system and building connections between the main theater building and other buildings ETC owns on the block.
Capital funds must come from contributions, since ticket sales support 10 full-time employees and more than 180 professional set builders, actors and other artists throughout the year. One the state grant is matched, ETC can begin renovations.
"We have a lot of fun neighbors now, and that means more people walking around," Meyers says. "People are walking in and buying tickets. That never used to happen, so we want to continue to make sure people feel welcome and know what we're about."
By Evan Wallis