The Know Theatre
is Cincinnati’s place to be for evocative live entertainment. One-of-a-kind experiences such as the Cincinnati Fringe Festival and cutting edge programs such as the Jackson Street Market and the theatre’s touring educational program Calculus: the Musical! have established the Know as the go-to venue for the type of contemporary theatre more common in larger cities.
Now in its 15th
year of operation, the Know has received some prestigious national recognition.
In October, Know Theatre Producing Artistic Director Eric Vosmeier will travel to the Big Apple to accept a $10,000 grant from the American Theatre Wing (founder of the Tony Awards). One of only 10 theatres nationally to receive the honor, the Know will use the grant to support programming and help attract and retain artists.
“This grant is a huge boon to Know Theatre’s model, focus and programming,” Vosmeier says.
The prestigious award validates the Know’s commitment to innovation and the advancement of contemporary theatre, and provides important support for the theatre’s sustainability. “Know Theatre is at a crucial stage of our development and new funding such as this will be crucial for us to continue to move the organization forward,” Vosmeier says.
In order to receive the 2012 National Theatre Company Grant
, the Know had to articulate its mission, demonstrate the cultivation of an audience and show how artists are nurtured in a way that strengthens the quality, diversity and dynamism of American theatre.
“It seemed to me that they were looking for a company that takes a diverse approach to what they do,” says Vosmeier.
He says that the strength of the grant application was based on the Know’s unique approach to programming and the fact that it is producing almost entirely new work. For example, the Cincinnati Fringe Festival
brings hundreds of local and national artists together each year to entertain, collaborate and network while artist programs like the Jackson Street Market and educational programs like Calculus: The Musical! play more active roles in education.
In addition to its innovative programs, the Know continues to look for new ways to fund itself. The institution of the Club of Jacksons, initially a crowdfunding effort aimed at supporting the Know’s production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
earlier this spring, was a first for the Know and resulted in funding almost the entire production.
Building on the success of that endeavor, Vosmeier says that the Club of Jacksons will return this year, allowing the community to play an active role in sponsoring a live show by donating one Jackson or several.
The Know is also working with Brandery
2012 class member Socstock
, an innovative funding model that allows individuals to invest in a local small business and receive a return through goods and services. Details are still in the works, but Vosmeier says that returns on investment through Socstock could include anything from tickets, to Fringe passes, improv and acting classes and more.
Perhaps more than anything, the company’s sustainability is based on its ability to cultivate high-caliber talent that keeps people buying tickets. With a continued focus on original programming, artistic development and sustainable funding, the Know Theatre is on an upward trajectory.
“We want to keep artists here in Cincinnati,” says Vosmeier. “We want them to be able to make a living here and continue to advance contemporary theatre.”
The grant from the American Theatre Wing boosts that mission by providing the resources that allow the Know to provide health care benefits for the first time to staff, add a few positions and provide a pay raises.
Expect great things to keep coming from the Know, including several Fringe Encore performances throughout the month of September, the True Theatre series returning in October and special events like the Know Theatre CityBeat Speakeasy NYE party.
• Purchase tickets
to an upcoming show.
to the Know.
• Promote Know productions through your social network and like the Know on Facebook
By Deidra Wiley Necco